Dow Jones Industrial Average Boosted by Fed Optimism; Gold Reclaims Critical Level

The Fed's Beige Book reveals widespread optimism among central bankers

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 3, 2014 at 4:18 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) held on to slight gains today, as a bullish Federal Reserve Beige Book overshadowed a mixed round of economic data. During the course of the session, the blue-chip index hit yet another record high, and subsequently closed at its loftiest level ever. In similar fashion, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) settled north of breakeven, tacking on 0.4% each. Elsewhere, crude shook off yesterday's loss to finish slightly higher, while gold reclaimed its perch atop the heavily watched $1,200 level.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,912.62) spent most of the day north of the flatline, settling 33.1 points, or 0.2%, higher for another record close -- after peaking at an all-time high of 17,924.15 late in the session. Seventeen of the Dow's 30 components ended in the green, paced by a 1.4% gain at UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH). The remaining 13 stocks retreated, with American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) leading the way, down 1.9%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,074.33) hit an all-time intraday peak of 2,076.28, before closing up 7.8 points, or 0.4% -- its highest settlement on record -- while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,774.47) advanced 18.7 points, or 0.4%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.47) dropped 0.4 points, or 3%, for a second straight close south of its 10-day moving average, as well as the 13 mark.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Private businesses added a slimmer-than-expected 208,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP employment report. Meanwhile, third-quarter labor productivity was upwardly revised by the Labor Department -- but lagged economists' consensus estimate -- while unit labor costs were reduced. (USA Today; Reuters)
  2. The Fed's Beige Book revealed a generally "optimistic" economic outlook among most central bank officials. "Consumer spending continued to advance in most districts, and reports on tourism were mostly positive," the report said. "Employment gains were widespread across districts, and districts reporting on business spending generally noted some improvement." (CNBC)
  3. It was a wild day for this teen apparel retailer, which seesawed in the wake of its mixed earnings report.
  4. Skepticism reigned in Amazon.com, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AMZN) options pits.
  5. A pair of fundamental developments brought out these Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) option bulls.
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:

January-dated crude got a lift as the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) weekly report showed a surprise decline in stockpiles. Also worth noting, The Wall Street Journal reported the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) largest producer, Saudi Arabia, believes prices for the commodity will stabilize around $60 per barrel. At the close, crude was up 50 cents, or 0.7%, at $67.38 per barrel.

Gold futures took back the $1,200 level, as weak economic data and rising energy prices sparked a rally in the malleable metal. By the close, gold for February delivery was up $9.30, or 0.8%, at $1,208.70 per ounce.


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