ECB Powers Dow Jones Industrial Average to 260-Point Win

Crude stockpiles expanded to an 80-year high

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jan 22, 2015 at 4:16 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) soared on the European Central Bank's (ECB) stimulus announcement, finishing with a triple-digit gain. By day's end, the blue-chip benchmark notched a fourth straight daily win, but fell just short of its year-to-date breakeven level. Meanwhile, the Dow's peers -- specifically, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) -- also staged healthy rallies, while the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged amid growing investor confidence. Elsewhere, crude resumed its downtrend following the latest inventory data.

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

  • 2 momentum stocks that were popular among short-term option bulls.
  • Another round of layoffs for United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:NYSE:X) sparked a rush of put buying.
  • Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) popped today -- and these traders think more upside is in store.
  • Plus ... Details on Europe's quantitative easing (QE), unemployment filings dip, and more post-earnings gains for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,813.98) spent nearly the entire session north of breakeven, and closed with a gain of 259.7 points, or 1.5%. All but three of the Dow's components ended higher, paced by a 4.1% post-earnings advance from UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH). The losing trio was led by American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), which gave back 3.8% after its disappointing turn in the confessional.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,063.15) popped 31 points, or 1.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,750.40) added 83 points, or 1.8%. Both indexes also muscled atop their respective year-to-date breakeven marks.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.40) stumbled 2.5 points, or 13%, for its lowest daily close of 2015.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. ECB President Mario Draghi announced a $1.3 trillion QE program that will kick off in March. Specifically, the central bank committed to buying roughly $70 billion in bonds each month through September 2016, in an effort to prop up the nearly stagnant eurozone economy. (Bloomberg)
  2. First-time jobless claims fell by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 307,000, the Labor Department reported. However, economists had forecast a sharper drop to 300,000. (Reuters)
  3. The post-earnings momentum continued for NFLX -- and options traders are hoping for more.
  4. A trio of stocks that benefited from analyst-induced tailwinds.
  5. Traders are gambling on major upside for this struggling Internet issue.
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 plummeted on news that U.S. stockpiles rose more than expected last week, bringing them to their loftiest level in roughly eight decades for this point in the year. Oil for March delivery lost $1.47, or 3.1%, to settle at $46.31 per barrel.

Gold took back the $1,300 level, following the ECB's QE announcement and Denmark's decision to reduce its key interest rate for the second time in a week. By the close, the February-dated contract had added $7, or 0.5%, to land at $1,300.70 per ounce.


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