U.S. Stocks Carve Out New Highs Ahead of Fed Minutes

Trading volume should continue to taper off ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

Nov 21, 2017 at 4:26 PM
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It was a record-setting session on Wall Street today. Not only did the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) hit record highs, but the S&P 500 Index (SPX) topped 2,600 for the first time ever -- and Goldman Sachs raised its 2018 target for the benchmark to 2,850, based on expectations for tax reform. Tech stocks led the path higher, while a strong batch of earnings reports and economic data helped feed investors' risk-on appetite.

Today's upside came as trading volume continues to taper off in the lead-up to the Thanksgiving holiday. Nevertheless, tomorrow's release of the latest Fed meeting minutes could draw some attention, as Wall Street looks for clues on a potential December rate hike.

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

  • The Dow hasn't done this in a decade.
  • Analyst: This is "the strongest stock" in the tech sector.
  • 2 retail stocks that collapsed after earnings.
  • Plus, EA's pullback presents an "opportunity"; the cloud stock with cheap options; and the drug stock that jumped 32%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 23,590.83) hit an intraday high of 23,617.80, before settling the session up 160.5 points, or 0.7%. Apple (AAPL) paced the 25 Dow advancers with its 1.9% gain, while Wal-Mart (WMT) led the five decliners with its 1% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,599.03) topped out at an all-time best of 2,601.19, but pared this gain to 16.9 points, or 0.7%. After notching an all-time peak of 6,862.66, the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 6,862.48) closed 71.8 points, or 1.1% higher.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 9.73) shed 0.9 point, or 8.6%, to mark its first close in single-digit territory since Nov. 8.

Closing Indexes Summary Nov 21

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats Nov 21

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave specifics on its plan to repeal net neutrality -- a move that would allow internet providers the ability to control how content is made available to consumers. The FCC will vote on the proposal at a Dec. 14 meeting. (The Washington Post)
  2. Sales of previously owned homes rose to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.48 million last month, according to the National Association of Realtors. This was more than the 5.45 million pace economists had been expecting, and represents the best monthly rate since June. (MarketWatch)
  3. Why this analyst says Electronic Arts (EA) stock's recent pullback presents "an opportunity to add to ... positions."
  4. This outperforming cloud stock currently has cheap options.
  5. A bullish brokerage note sent this drug stock up 32%.

Corporate Earnings Nov 21

Unusual Options Activity Nov 21
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities

January-dated crude futures rose 41 cents, or 0.7%, to close at $56.83 per barrel. Lifting oil prices were expectations of a decline in weekly domestic crude inventories, as well as hope the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will announce an extension to a supply cut agreement at its Nov. 30 meeting.

Gold got a boost today, as the U.S. dollar cooled ahead of tomorrow's release of the minutes from the latest Fed meeting. At the close, gold for December delivery was up $6.40, or 0.5%, at $1,281.70 an ounce.

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