Dow Jones Industrial Average Resolves Higher; Crude Comes Back

Buyout Bug Hits Healthcare; Plus, the Pair of Rallying e-Tailers

by Alex Eppstein

Published on May 21, 2015 at 4:22 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) endured yet another see-saw session, before eventually resolving to the upside -- albeit barely. Keeping gains in check was a disappointing round of economic data -- including a surprise retreat in existing home sales, a drop in two manufacturing gauges, and a larger-than-expected uptick in weekly jobless claims. Meanwhile, bond yields and the dollar weakened, while crude bounced back big. The week closes out tomorrow with a pair of economic reports, as well as a highly anticipated speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen.

 

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

 

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 18,285.74) ended the up-and-down session a mere 0.3 point higher. Half of the Dow's 30 components finished on a gain, led by Caterpillar Inc.'s (NYSE:CAT) 1.6% advance. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) paced the 15 blue-chip losers, off 0.8%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,130.82) eked out a 5-point, or 0.2%, win, to notch a record closing high. Earlier in the session, the SPX came within a point of a new all-time best. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,090.79) outpaced its peers, adding 19.1 points, or 0.4%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.11) shed 0.8 point, or 6%, for its lowest close since early December.

 

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

 

  1. Weekly jobless claims increased slightly more than expected, according to data from the Labor Department. However, the number of Americans filing for new unemployment benefits came in below the critical 300,000 level for an 11th consecutive week. (CNBC)
  2. Existing home sales unexpectedly fell in April to an annualized 5.04 million units, the National Association of Realtors reported. Rising prices and a lack of supply were among the factors responsible for the decline. (Reuters, via CNBC)
  3. Sensational first-quarter revenue figures sent this Chinese Internet stock to the moon.
  4. A number of options traders are counting on post-earnings upside for Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ).
  5. QUALCOMM, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:QCOM) stock buyback plans piqued the interest of eleventh-hour bulls.

 

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Commodities:

 

Crude staged its largest single-day rally in one month, amid expectations for additional overseas stimulus and thanks to a cooling dollar. By day's end, the July-dated contract was up $1.74, or 3%, to settle at $60.72 per barrel.

Gold retreated as traders considered the possibility of a 2015 interest-rate hike by the Fed, just a day after the central bank all but ruled out a June liftoff. June-dated futures gave back $4.60, or 0.4%, to land at $1,204.10 per ounce.



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