Dow Jones Industrial Average Puts Another Record In the Books

November payrolls posted their strongest month since January 2012

Dec 5, 2014 at 11:46 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) just can't be stopped, and today the 30-stock index topped out a record intraday peak of 17,969.11 -- and is on pace for a new all-time closing high -- as a strong jobs report boosts sentiment around the Street. Specifically, the Labor Department said 321,000 jobs were created last month -- the best month of hiring in nearly three years. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings for private-sector employees advanced by 2.1% year-over-year, in line with economists' estimate. This burst of buying power isn't relegated to blue chips, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) up a respective 4.8 and 16.7 points. What's more, both the DJI and the SPX are well on their way to notching a seventh consecutive weekly win.

Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable put volume is broadcasting issue Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA). The stock is up 3.7% at $28.79, after reports STRZA may be looking for alternatives to putting itself on the block was met with a bullish brokerage note. In the options pits, puts are trading at 31 times the average intraday pace, with possible buy-to-open activity detected at the equity's January 2015 30 strike.

For more midday statistics and stocks on the move, head to page 2.

One of the major Nasdaq advancers is retailer Francesca's Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:FRAN), which has surged 24.6% to $14.45, as reports of a new leader overshadow a price-target cut to $17 from $19 from Cowen and Company (although the brokerage firm reiterated its "outperform" rating). One group that's likely feeling the pain of today's bullish gap is short sellers. At present, 18.3% of the stock's float is sold short, and it would take nearly 10 sessions to cover all of these bearish bets, at average daily trading volumes.

Over on the Big Board, for-profit educator ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE:ESI) is one of the biggest gainers. The stock has soared 19% to $8.90, following news of a $100 million financing agreement with Cerberus Business Finance. While the stock has enjoyed some big moves to the upside recently, ESI is still staring at a steep 73.5% year-to-date deficit. As such, it's no surprise to see sentiment tilted toward the bearish side. Among covering analysts, three-quarters maintain a "hold" or worse suggestion, while 59.2% of the security's float is sold short.

Daily Chart of ESI Since January 2014

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.7 point, or 5.4%, at 11.71, and on pace for its lowest daily close since late August.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.65, with puts outstripping calls. SPY is up 0.5 point, or 0.2%, at $208.11.



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