Nasdaq Closes Out Best Month Since 2011

The Dow and S&P logged impressive January gains, too, while oil set a monthly record

by Karee Venema

Published on Jan 31, 2019 at 4:37 PM

Tech stocks stole the spotlight today, thanks to blowout Facebook (FB) earnings. The FAANG stock surged 10.8%, keeping the Nasdaq in positive territory the whole session. The S&P 500 also closed higher after President Donald Trump tweeted a final U.S.-China trade deal won't be made until he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, the Dow couldn't overcome negative earnings reactions from the likes of Microsoft (MSFT) and DowDuPont (DWDP), and closed lower for the first time since Monday. Nevertheless, all three indexes finished January with their biggest monthly gains in years.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 24,999.67) explored a 207-point trading range on both sides of breakeven, before settling down 15.2 points, or 0.06%, just below the 25,000 millennium level. DowDuPont (DWDP) paced the 11 Dow decliners with its 9.2% drop, while Pfizer (PFE) led the 19 advancers with its 3% gain. For January, the Dow added 7.2%, its best month since October 2015.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,704.10) closed up 23.1 points, or 0.9%, bringing its monthly return to 7.9% -- like the Dow, its biggest monthly jump since October 2015. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 7,281.74) rose 98.7 points, or 1.4%, today, and 9.7% in January -- its biggest monthly gain since October 2011.

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 16.57) gave back 1.1 point, or 6.2%. For the month, the market's "fear gauge" slumped 34.8% in its worst monthly performance since October 2015.

Closing Indexes Jan 31

NYSE and Nasdaq Jan 31

5 Items on our Radar Today

  1. President Donald Trump is reportedly considering former Godfather's Pizza CEO -- and U.S. presidential candidate -- Herman Cain to fill one of two open positions on the Federal Reserve board. Cain previously served as Kansas City Fed president from 1992-1996. (Bloomberg).
  2. General Electric (GE) reported a fourth-quarter revenue beat of $33.3 billion, and said it is nearing a $1.5 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over its now-obsolete subprime mortgage business. CEO Larry Culp's forecast for the company's power business was well-received, too, with GE stock gaining 11.6% for its best day since the stock market bottom in March 2009. (CNBC)
  3. A devastating Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision sank Aquestive Therapeutics.
  4. Analysts issued new "buy" ratings for these two small-cap stocks.
  5. Goldman Sachs downgraded H & R Block to "sell" ahead of tax season.

Corporate Earnings Jan 31

Unusual Options Activity Jan 31

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Oil Prices Have Best January Ever

Oil turned lower by the close, with the March contract settling down 44 cents, or 0.8%, at $53.79 per barrel. However, crude futures snapped a three-month losing streak, surging 18.2% for their best monthly performance since April 2016 and their strongest January on record.

April-dated gold futures gained $9.70, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,325.20 an ounce, marking the malleable metal's fifth straight win. Comparing most-active contracts, gold prices rose 3.4% in January.

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