Fed, Energy Spark Dow Jones Industrial Average Rally

The Fed dropped the phrase 'considerable time' from its policy statement

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Dec 17, 2014 at 4:20 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) rose sharply on the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest policy statement, which said the central bank can be "patient" with the timing of its next interest rate hike. In fact, the Dow was up by as much as 320 points at its intraday high, and closed on a gain of 288 points, or 1.7%. Also providing a boon to U.S. stocks were continued gains in the energy sector, as well as a diplomatic olive branch. Specifically, President Barack Obama made headlines by speaking with Cuban President Raul Castro, as the icy relationship between the two nations appears to be thawing.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,356.87) had its best day of the year, jumping 288 points, or 1.7%. All 30 of the Dow's components ended in the green, paced by a 4.3% win at Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX).

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,012.89) also posted its best session of 2014, adding 40.2 points, or 2%. Even more impressively, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,644.31) shot 96.5 points, or 2.1%, higher.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 19.44) got crushed, diving 4.1 points, or 17.5%, wiping out yesterday's gains.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The Federal Reserve, without promising to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time," nevertheless said it can afford to be "patient" before raising rates in 2015. While the omission of the aforementioned language is significant, the central bank said its current stance is "consistent" with the previous pledge. "At this point we think it unlikely that it will be appropriate that we will see conditions for at least the next couple of meetings that will make it appropriate for us to decide to begin normalization," Fed Chair Janet Yellen remarked during her afternoon press conference. (MarketWatch)
  2. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) surged on rumors activist investor Bill Ackman is taking a stake in the fast food behemoth. However, during an interview, Ackman said he could not comment on the veracity of the claims. (CNBC)
  3. On the flip side, Ackman's presentation against Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) triggered bearish options betting.
  4. This energy name benefited from a sector-wide rally, luring bullish speculators to the table.
  5. A closer look at how rivals CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) and Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) have been faring on the charts.
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 popped on the weekly inventory update from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which showed stockpiles fell by nearly 850,000 barrels. The front-month contract rose for the second straight day, adding 54 cents, or roughly 1%, to close at $56.47 per barrel.

February-dated gold edged slightly higher on more-dovish-than-expected comments from the Fed. For the session, the malleable metal added a mere 20 cents, or less than 0.01%, to settle at $1,194.50 per ounce, ending a five-day slide.


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