Microsoft Lifts Dow Jones Industrial Average; Nasdaq, S&P Hit Milestones

2 Mining Stocks to Watch; Plus, the Drugmaker Making History

by Karee Venema

Published on Apr 24, 2015 at 4:27 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) managed to eke out a modest win today, thanks to a post-earnings surge for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). However, the real excitement was found elsewhere on the Street, with the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) continuing its historic climb amid a round of well-received earnings reports from MSFT and its sector peers. In fact, the COMP notched another 15-year peak in intraday action, before settling at its highest perch on record. Not to be outdone, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit an all-time intraday peak of its own, and also notched a new record close. Looking ahead, next week could be another volatile one, with the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest policy decision due, and another big batch of notable earnings reports on tap.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 18,080.14) explored both sides of breakeven today, eventually settling up 21.5 points, or 0.1%. Twelve of the Dow's 30 components closed higher, led by MSFT's 10.5% pop. Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) paced the 18 decliners with its 1% loss. For the week, the DJIA added 1.4%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,117.69) topped out at an all-time intraday peak of 2,120.92, before closing at its highest mark to date -- up 4.8 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,092.08) outperformed its peers, tacking on 36 points, or 0.7%, to settle at an all-time peak -- and hit a fresh 15-year high of 5,100.37 along the way. On a week-over-week basis, the SPX and COMP added 1.8% and 3.3%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.29) shed 0.2 point, or 1.5%, to mark a year-to-date low and a fifth straight finish beneath its 10-day moving average. On the week, the market's "fear gauge" gave back 11.5%.

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Orders for durable goods rose 4% in March, according to the Commerce Department, due mostly to strong demand in the transportation sector. Excluding cars, aircraft, and military merchandise, orders declined 0.5%. (MarketWatch)
  2. The lackluster durable goods report prompted a number of brokerage firms to reduce their outlooks for first-quarter GDP, with the advance reading due out next Wednesday morning. J.P. Morgan Securities, for example, cut its forecast to 2.5% from 3%, while Barclays downwardly revised its estimate by 0.1 percentage point to 1.1%. (CNBC)
  3. Just hours after Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) withdrew its bid for TWC, rumors began circulating the broadcast giant may have found a new suitor in this St. Louis-based cable company.
  4. This Nasdaq component took a turn for the worse after a taking disappointing turn in the earnings confessional and announcing a major management shift.
  5. Option traders are gambling on a post-earnings boost for this online auctioneer.

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Commodities:

Crude closed lower today, amid signs of easing tension in Yemen and reports of a continued decline in domestic rig counts. By the close, June-dated crude was off 59 cents, or 1%, at $57.15 per barrel. For the week, crude added 2.5%.

A rally in global equities markets sent gold south, with gold for June delivery closing the session down $19.30, or 1.6%, at $1,175 per ounce. Week-over-week, the malleable metal surrendered 2.3%.


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