Stocks Start 2018 Strong with Last-Minute Record Highs

Gold futures managed an eighth-straight daily win as the dollar faltered

Managing Editor
Jan 2, 2018 at 4:37 PM
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The first trading day of 2018 started on a strong note, with the Dow up nearly 145 points out of the gate this morning. The blue-chip index peaked early in the session, though, despite upbeat manufacturing data and an extended slide for the U.S. dollar. While the Dow finished just off its intraday high, New Year's week is firmly on pace to extend its bullish track record -- and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both wrapped up the day with a final buying burst that carried them to new record intraday and closing highs.

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

  • Why one analyst declared "Netflix has won."
  • Don't miss the buy signal on this biotech stock.
  • Johnson & Johnson sat out the Dow rally after this bear note.
  • Plus, Peter Thiel's big cryptocurrency play; LULU's surprising post-downgrade price action; and Nomura's top restaurant pick for the new year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 24,824.01) finished up 104.8 points, or 0.4%. The 21 blue-chip winners were led by a nearly 4% gain from Walt Disney (DIS), while Travelers (TRV) led the nine losers with a 2.7% loss.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,695.79) finished 22.2 points, or 0.8%, higher, and touched an all-time high of 2,695.89 just before the closing bell sounded. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 7,006.90) picked up an impressive 103.51 points, or 1.5%, to settle just about a hundredth of a point away from its newly set intraday peak of 7,006.91.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 9.77) fell 1.27 points, or 11.5%, for the day. This marked the VIX's lowest close since Dec. 21.

Closing Indexes Summary Jan 2

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats Jan 2

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. Bitcoin is on the rise once again after early Facebook investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel's venture capital fund reportedly bought "millions of dollars" of the cryptocurrency. Following the reports, bitcoin prices shot up above $15,000. (CNBC)
  2. New York City is installing more than 1,500 barriers along plazas and pedestrian sidewalks after the crowded city experienced at least two fatal instances of vehicles striking civilians after mounting the curb. The barriers will be waist-high cylindrical bollards, with the intent to be slightly more appealing than the usual concrete boulders. (Reuters)
  3. The retail stock to own for January.
  4. Lululemon hit a 16-month high, despite an analyst downgrade.
  5. Nomura tapped a familiar name as its top restaurant stock pick for 2018.

Unusual Options Activity Jan 2
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Crude Slips; Gold Extends Win Streak

Crude futures settled slightly lower today, due to increased tensions surrounding Iran's output as anti-government protests rattled the capital city of Tehran. The February contract finished down $0.05, or 0.08%, at $60.37 per barrel.

February-dated gold finished higher for the eighth session in a row today -- and notched its highest close since September -- as the dollar remained persistently weak against its key foreign rivals. Gold futures settled up $6.80, or 0.5%, at $1,316.10 per ounce.


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