Bank, Oil Stocks Lift Markets; Traders Eye Government Shutdown

Traders cheered corporate pledges to hike wages after the GOP tax bill

Managing Editor
Dec 21, 2017 at 4:29 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) finished higher today, but ended well off its intraday peak -- and fell short of a record-setting 71st all-time closing high for 2017. Both the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) also finished in the black, led by energy and bank stocks. Traders cheered pledges by big-cap companies to boost wages after the Republican tax plan, and the focus now turns to Friday's spending-bill deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

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

  • The rare stock signal not seen in five years.
  • Altaba stock could be flashing "buy."
  • How Nike options traders won big ahead of earnings.
  • Plus, Voya's record high; the blockchain stock that more than doubled; and more trouble for Chipotle.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 24,782.29) finished 55.6 points, or 0.2%, higher. Chevron (CVX) led 15 Dow stocks higher with its 3.3% win, while Intel Corp (INTC) paced the 15 decliners with its 1.7% loss.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,684.57) finished 5.3 points, or 0.2%, higher. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 6,965.36) added 4.4 points, or 0.1%. 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 9.62) lost 0.1 point, or 1%.

Closing Indexes Summary Dec 21

NYSE and Nasdaq Dec 21

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. Blue-chip aerospace company Boeing (BA) is reportedly engaged in discussions of a "potential combination" of businesses with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. While nothing is official, such a deal would need approval from the Brazilian government. (Reuters)
  2. The White House is reportedly considering Larry Lindsey, a former economic advisor to President George W. Bush, for the Fed's vice chair position. Lindsey was also a former governor of the Federal Reserve from 1991-1997. Former Vice Chair Stanley Fischer vacated the seat back in October. (CNBC)
  3. The asset sale that sent Voya stock to a new record high.
  4. An unexpected new blockchain stock more than doubled today.
  5. Chipotle stock is in hot water once again -- but not with some analysts.

Corporate Earnings Chart Dec 21

Unusual Options Activity Dec 21
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities

Crude slated for February delivery rose 27 cents, or 0.4%, to close at $58.36 per barrel. Black gold erased early losses, despite reports that the North Sea pipeline is expected to reopen in early January.

February-dated gold futures added $1, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,279.70 an ounce. Limiting gold gains was optimism about tax reform, which whetted the collective appetite for riskier assets.


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