China's Stimulus Plan Lifts Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 to New Highs

Both crude and gold finished higher on the day and the week

by Karee Venema

Published on Nov 21, 2014 at 4:23 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

It was a record-setting day on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI), the S&P 500 Index (SPX), and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) all notching new highs. Stoking the bullish flames was a surprise interest-rate cut from the People's Bank of China, as well as upbeat stimulus chatter from across the pond. Although the indexes finished off their intraday peaks, both the DJI and SPX settled at their loftiest perches on record, while the COMP closed at its highest mark in 14 years. What's more, they all logged a fifth consecutive weekly win.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,810.06) spent the entire session in the black. At its record intraday peak of 17,894.83, the index was up nearly 176 points, before paring these gains to 91.1 points, or 0.5% -- a new all-time closing high. Twenty-four of the Dow's 30 components closed higher, led by Caterpillar Inc.'s (NYSE:CAT) 4.3% rally. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) paced the five decliners with its 1.5% loss, while AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) was unchanged. For the week, the DJI jumped 1%.

In similar fashion, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,063.50) also tagged a fresh intraday high of 2,071.46 in early trading, before closing up 10.8 points, or 0.5%, at a new record. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,712.97), meanwhile, finished 11.1 points, or 0.2%, higher, at its highest settlement since March 28, 2000. On a week-over-week basis, the SPX and COMP added 1.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.90) closed 0.7 point, or 5%, lower -- and south of the 13 mark for the first time since Nov. 11. On the week, the market's "fear gauge" shed 3.1%.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Following reports that China cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in two years, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said, "We will do what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible" in the euro zone. Additionally, Draghi remarked that if current measures are ineffective in stimulating the economy, the ECB must "step up the pressure and broaden even more the channels through which we intervene, by altering accordingly the size, pace and composition of our purchases."(Bloomberg; Reuters)
  2. House Republicans announced they are suing the Obama administration -- specifically, the Health and Human Services and Treasury Department secretaries -- over the Affordable Care Act, citing an abuse of executive power. In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, "Time after time, the president has chosen to ignore the will of the American people and rewrite federal law on his own without a vote of Congress ... The House has an obligation to stand up for the Constitution, and that is exactly why we are pursuing this course of action." (CNBC)
  3. To the delight of options traders, DISH rallied to a new record high after coming to a short-term agreement with CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS).
  4. 2 blue chips that tagged new highs following a round of bullish brokerage attention.
  5. One option skeptic upped the ante on EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), betting on a long-term level of resistance to hold.
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:

Crude oil finished higher today, as China's unexpected rate cut helped buoy optimism for stronger demand from the world's second-largest consumer of black gold. By session's end, crude for January delivery was up 66 cents, or 0.9%, at $76.51 per barrel. Comparing front-month contracts on a week-over-week basis, crude tacked on 0.9%.

Gold rose to a three-week high -- and briefly topped the $1,200 mark -- amid the upbeat global central bank chatter. At the close, December-dated gold had added $6.80, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,197.70 per ounce. For the week, the malleable metal rose 1%.


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