Dow Jones Industrial Average Explores Record Highs; COMP Aims for 10th Straight Win

Fed Chair Janet Yellen kicked off a two-day stint on Capitol Hill

Feb 24, 2015 at 12:04 PM
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The bullish stars are once again aligning for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI). Blue chip Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) is enjoying a post-earnings rally to record highs, while fellow component JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) isn't far behind, thanks to celebrated investor day news. Meanwhile, eurozone finance ministers gave the green light to Greece's reform proposals -- submitted with Cinderella timing -- and Fed Chair Janet Yellen's testimony before Congress has been well-received thus far. The central banker essentially stressed the unimportance of semantics -- specifically, how the eventual removal of "patient" from the Fed's policy statement will not mean a rate hike will ensue in the next couple of months -- and that decisions will be made based on economic data, especially inflation. Against this backdrop, the Dow, S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) are once again exploring new highs, with the latter on pace for a 10th straight daily win.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is home improvement retailer HD, with the contracts being picked up at a pace eight times what's normally seen at this point in the session. Nine of the equity's 10 most popular contracts expire at the end of this week, with the weekly 2/27 116-strike call leading the way. In the wake of another well-received earnings showing, HD was last seen 3.2% higher at $115.87, and earlier touched an all-time high of $117.92.

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

Energy name Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ) is one of the biggest gainers on the Nasdaq. The security -- last seen 8% higher at $30.77 -- is getting a halo lift from the latest buzz surrounding sector peers First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR). Even before today, the shares of CSIQ had added 17.7% year-to-date, but are approaching a familiar speed bump in the $32 region, which stifled the equity's fourth-quarter rally attempts.

Daily Chart of CSIQ Since Feb. 28, 2014

Molecular diagnostics company EXACT Sciences Corporation (NASDAQ:EXAS) is one of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq. The shares have dropped 13.5% to land at $20.95, as traders pan the company's turn in the earnings spotlight. This likely pleases the equity's bearish traders. Specifically, about one-third of EXAS' float is sold short, representing over four weeks' worth of trading, at average daily volume.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.4 point, or 3%, at 14.12, and could end a third straight day beneath its 200-day trendline.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.06, with puts more than doubling calls. SPY is up 0.4 point, or 0.2%, at $211.59.

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