Dow Jones Industrial Average Breaks Out to New Highs; Small-Caps Steal the Show

Saudi Arabia projected a roughly $39 billion revenue shortfall in 2015

Karee Venema
Dec 26, 2014 at 4:24 PM
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Despite a lack of drivers in today's session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) returned from the Christmas holiday with a bang -- tagging a fresh record peak of 18,103.45 in intraday action, and settling at its loftiest perch on record. This burst of buying power spread to other areas of the Street, as well, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) notching its 52nd record close of the year -- the most in a calendar year since 1995 -- and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) finishing at its highest level since March 2000. However, it was small-caps that stole the show, with the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) soaring to an all-time intraday peak of 1,217.01, before closing at its best mark to date.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 18,053.71) hit the ground running, touching a new intraday high of 18,103.45 along the way, before settling up 23.5 points, or 0.1%, at its highest close to date. Twenty-one of the DJI's 30 components closed higher, led by a 1% pop for McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD). Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) paced the nine decliners with its 0.6% drop. On a weekly basis, the Dow tacked on 1.4%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,088.77) closed up 6.9 points, or 0.3%, at a record high, and not before also tagging a fresh peak of 2,092.70 in intraday action. Along similar lines, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,806.86) rallied to a fresh 14-year high of 4,814.95, before settling up 33.4 points, or 0.7%. Week-over-week, the SPX and COMP each added 0.9%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.50) tacked on 0.1 points, or 0.9%. On the week, though, the market's "fear gauge" gave back 12.1%.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Saudi Arabia approved its 2015 budget that includes a modest rise in spending, despite a roughly $88 billion year-over-year decline in oil revenue. In order to offset the projected $39 billion deficit, the Finance Ministry has proposed reducing salaries and various other allowances, which make up roughly 50% of total budget expenditures. Additionally, the budget did not include the region's forecast for oil prices next year. (The New York Times)
  2. V said it has suspended operations in war-torn Crimea. "Due to the latest U.S. sanctions imposed against Crimea ... Visa is now prohibited from offering Visa-branded products and services to Crimea. This means that we can no longer support card issuing and merchant/ATM acquiring services in Crimea," the company said in a statement. On the charts, the equity hit a fresh record high of $269.32 in early trading, but lost this momentum by the close -- likely to the dismay of eleventh-hour option bulls. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  3. Christmas Day network outages for both Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) gaming consoles were linked to one hacker group, following the former's release of the controversial film "The Interview."
  4. One option bear bet big on Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) to continue its struggles over the long term.
  5. With a legal hurdle nearly behind it -- and earnings on the horizon -- QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) saw a rush of bullish betting in its options pits.

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 took it on the chin today, amid continued supply concerns. By the close, crude for February delivery was down $1.11, or 2%, at $54.73 per barrel. Week-over-week, crude surrendered 4.2%.

Gold moved higher as bargain hunters emerged in today's low-volume session. At the close, February-dated gold was up $21.80, or 1.9%, at $1,195.30 per ounce. On a weekly basis, however, the malleable metal closed fractionally lower.


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