Headlines from Japan, Germany, Usher Dow Jones Industrial Average to Record High

As the dollar cooled, gold futures bounced back

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:21 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

While European Central Bank President Mario Draghi stole the show yesterday, it was Shinzo Abe's turn in the global spotlight, as the Japanese prime minister today said he would delay next year's planned sales tax hike and hold a snap election. The news -- along with a solid reading on German investor confidence -- helped buoy U.S. stocks out of the gate, and an encouraging reading on the domestic housing front only added fuel to the fire. What's more, despite a surprise uptick in producer prices, concerns about a sooner-than-expected Fed rate hike were relatively muted, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) notching another set of all-time highs.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,687.82) hit an all-time acme of 17,735.71, before trimming its surplus to 40.1 points, or 0.2%, to land at a record closing high. Twenty of the Dow's 30 blue chips ended higher. UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) once again led the advancers, tacking on 1.8%; The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD) paced the bearish minority, giving up 2.1% after a poorly received earnings report.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,051.80) tagged a record peak of 2,056.08 in intraday action, before settling at its own all-time closing high -- up 10.5 points, or 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,702.44) fared the best of its peers, gaining 31.4 points, or 0.7%, after notching a fresh 14-year high of 4,709.83.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.86) gave up 0.1 point, or 0.9%, but scored a second straight close atop its 10-day moving average.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Homebuilder confidence approached a nine-year high in November, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The NAHB index rebounded 4 points to 58 this month, marking the fifth straight month north of 50 -- the baseline for builder optimism. (MarketWatch)
  2. U.S. producer prices unexpectedly increased 0.2% in October, as measured by the Labor Department's producer price index (PPI), with the cost of services rising 0.5% -- the largest monthly uptick since July 2013. Excluding food and energy, the core PPI ticked 0.1% higher. (Reuters, via CNBC)
  3. GPRO muscled higher, and option buyers responded in kind.
  4. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) speculators cheered the company's "smart bracelet."
  5. Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) option traders gambled on short-term support.
EARNINGS

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.

STOCKS – NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS – NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities:

Black gold took a turn for the worse, as traders sat on the sidelines ahead of a highly anticipated Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting next week. By the time the dust settled, crude for December delivery fell $1.03, or 1.4%, to end at $74.61 per barrel.

Upbeat headlines from overseas translated into a cooling greenback, luring bargain hunters to the dollar-denominated commodity. By the close, December-dated gold tacked on $13.60, or 1.2%, to finish at $1,197.10 an ounce.


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