Biotech Fuels COMP Rebound; Dow Ends Losing Run

Crude and gold snapped their winning streaks, but ended the week higher

Mar 27, 2015 at 4:26 PM
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The bears finally took a breather today, with U.S. stocks edging higher after four straight days in the red. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) wobbled just north of the flatline for most of the day -- and barely put a dent in their weekly deficits -- as traders digested the latest gross domestic product (GDP) reading and commodities cooled off. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was the star of the show, as a rebound among biopharmaceuticals helped the index outperform its peers. Meanwhile, a late-session speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen only helped the bulls' case, with the central banker opining that "conditions may warrant" an interest-rate hike sometime this year, but that lackluster inflation or jobs data could prolong the status quo. Looking ahead, Yellen will step up to the podium again on Thursday, just ahead of a closely watched payrolls report.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,712.66) dipped below breakeven in early trading, but eventually ended with a gain of 34.4 points, or 0.2%. Eighteen of the index's 30 blue chips finished higher, led by Intel Corporation's (NASDAQ:INTC) late-day, M&A-inspired gain of 6.4%. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) paced the 12 laggards as oil backpedaled, both surrendering 0.9%. For the week, the Dow dropped 2.3%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,061.02) erased yesterday's losses, adding 4.9 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,891.22) fared the best of the broad-market indexes, advancing 27.9 points, or 0.6%. For the week, the SPX and COMP dipped 2.2% and 2.7%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.07) ended lower for the first session in five, giving up 0.7 point, or 4.6%. For the week, the "fear gauge" rallied 15.7%.



5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. U.S. GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, according to the Commerce Department, in line with previous estimates. Economists were expecting GDP to be upwardly revised to 2.4%. (Reuters)
  2. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came in at 93 for March's final reading, down from February's 95.4. However, the index edged higher than economists' estimates, and consumer optimism hit a 10-year high in the first quarter. (CNBC)
  3. Semiconductor stocks bounced back today. Can Skyworks Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:SWKS) resume its quest for record highs?
  4. Why BBRY shorts might be feeling the heat after earnings. GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) shorts? Not so much.
  5. How option buyers are gambling on new lows for this beleaguered oil stock.

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.




Crude halted its five-session run higher, as easing tensions in the Middle East -- and subsequent concerns about supplies -- trumped a 16th straight weekly drop in domestic oil rigs. Against this backdrop, oil for May delivery shed $2.56, or 5%, to finish at $48.87 per barrel. Week-over-week, though, black gold jumped 4.9%.

Gold snapped its seven-session winning streak, as safe-haven demand eased and traders took profits. By the close, April-dated gold surrendered $5, or 0.4%, to end at $1,199.80 an ounce. For the week, the malleable metal added 1.3%.



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