Dow Jones Industrial Average Makes It 7 Straight

3 Stocks in the M&A Spotlight; Plus, Apple's Media Circus

by Karee Venema

Published on Mar 21, 2016 at 4:27 PM

It was a push-and-pull session on Wall Street today, as stocks reacted to seesawing oil prices, lackluster housing data, and a pair of hawkish speeches from Fed officials. By the close, an analyst-induced jump for Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) helped send the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) to its seventh straight win -- the longest streak since October -- while a rally in telecom and healthcare stocks buoyed the S&P 500 Index (SPX) to a fresh year-to-date closing high.


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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,623.87) explored a 93-point range today, before settling up 21.6 points, or 0.1%, at its highest close of 2016. Half of the Dow's 30 components gained ground, led by a 1.7% pop for NKE. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) paced the losers with its 1.3% loss.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,051.60) spent time on both sides of breakeven, eventually closing with a 2-point, or 0.1%, gain. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,808.87) outperformed its peers, adding 13.2 points, or 0.3%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.79) gave back 0.2 point, or 1.6%, to close south of 14 for the first time since Aug. 18.


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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Both Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart and San Francisco Fed President John Williams said they are supportive of an April interest-rate hike, should data continue to show signs of improvement to the U.S. economy. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will host its next two-day policy-setting meeting April 26-27. (Bloomberg)

  2. Anthem Inc (NYSE:ANTM) has filed a lawsuit against Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ:ESRX), accusing the biggest domestic drug benefit provider of price gouging. ANTM -- the largest insurance provider in the U.S. -- is reportedly seeking more than $15 billion in damages. (The Washington Post)

  3. Embattled Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) announced sweeping management changes today, including its newest board member -- Bill Ackman.

  4. Argus set a never-before-reached price target for Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), ahead of next week's Model 3 unveiling.

  5. J.P. Morgan Securities cooled off on this athletic apparel provider.


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Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Oil prices rose today, amid data showing crude stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell last week. At the close, the now-expired April-dated contracts settled up 47 cents, or 1.2%, at $39.91 per barrel. Meanwhile, the new front-month May contract added 38 cents, or 0.9%, to $41.52 per barrel.

A rising dollar and speculation over an upcoming interest-rate hike sent gold to a third straight loss today. At session's end, gold for April delivery was down $10.10, or 0.8%, at $1,244.20 per ounce.


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