Dow Jones Industrial Average Hits New High; Nasdaq Reaches 5,000

Traders are looking past a mixed bag of economic news

Mar 2, 2015 at 12:18 PM
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After logging their best monthly gains in years, U.S. benchmarks have ushered in March like a lion. Tech is leading the charge higher, with blue chips Cisco Systems, Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) ushering the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) to record highs, and helping the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) north of the closely watched 5K mark for the first time in 15 years. On the economic front, consumer and construction spending fell in January, while the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index was lower in February, but still met analysts' expectations.

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

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF), which reports fourth-quarter earnings before the open on Wednesday. In the stock's options pits, calls are crossing at a rate 26 times what's normally seen at this point in the day, outpacing puts by a more than 5-to-1 margin. Today's call buying is a change of pace for ANF speculators, as the equity's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 2.95 is only 1 percentage point from an annual high.

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

Semiconductor concern Freescale Semiconductor Ltd (NYSE:FSL) is one of the biggest movers on the Big Board today, up 10.5% at $39.89 -- an all-time best -- after NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ:NXPI) announced it would be acquiring the company. The stock has now added over 58% year-to-date, outperforming the S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 66 percentage points in the past three months.

Pharmaceutical company Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX) is one of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq today, off over 14% at $98.65, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected its application for expanded use of one of its pain drugs. The price drop is somewhat of an anomaly for PCRX, which before today had added 46.7% in the past 52 weeks, and touched a record best of $121.95 just last week.

Daily Chart of FSL since December 2014

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.01 point, or 0.07%, at 13.33. The "fear gauge" has closed under 14 for four straight sessions.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 3.2, with puts outpacing calls. SPY was last seen 0.9 point, or 0.4%, higher at $211.59.


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