Stocks Score Record Closes as S&P, Nasdaq Win Third Straight

New cases of coronavirus declined for the second-straight day

by Patrick Martin

Published on Feb 12, 2020 at 4:34 PM

The Dow cruised to a comfortable 275-point win today, as more signs point to a slowdown in the coronavirus outbreak. New cases of the viral infection declined for the second-straight day and UnitedHealth (UNH) saw a healthy push higher, helping the blue chip index nab another record close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq locked up their third-straight win on the way to fresh record closes of their own. Against this upbeat backdrop, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), logged its lowest close in nearly three weeks.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 29,551.42) finished 275.1 points, or 0.9% higher for the day. UNH paced the 20 winners with a 4.4% gain, while Merck (MRK) fell to the bottom of the barrel on a 2.3% drop. J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) broke even. The Dow earlier hit a fresh record high of 29,568.57. 

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 3,379.45) tacked on 21.7 points, or 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 9,725.96) added 87 points or 0.9%. Each index touched fresh record highs of 3,381.47 and 9,728.77, respectively. 

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 13.74) shed 1.4 point, or 9.5%. 

closing indexes summary feb 12

nyse and nasdaq stats feb 12

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. In his second day of Congressional testimonies, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would combat any economic downturn through quantitative easing and forward guidance. The buying of government bonds would help keep long-term interest rates down, Powell noted, and forward guidance refers to the communication from the Fed about future monetary policy. (MarketWatch)
  2. Although the coronavirus fears are fading, the Mobile World Congress scrapped its annual showcase in Barcelona, Spain out of concern for the outbreak. The gathering of the wireless industry's big wigs was supposed to help roll out 5G services. (Bloomberg)
  3. A bullish signal says Ride-Aid stock could rebound soon.
  4. Analysts adjusted their Nvidia ratings ahead of earnings.
  5. The struggling REIT hit with a big downgrade.

corporate earnings feb 12

unusual options trading feb 12

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Oil Extends Gains, Gold Pivots Higher

Crude futures tacked on modest gains and reclaimed the round $50 level, as the easing coronavirus fears lend hope that crude demand won't be affected as much as anticipated. On the heels of a third straight weekly rise in crude inventory, March-dated oil added $1.23, or 2.5%, to settle at $51.17 per barrel.

Gold futures pared earlier losses to finish marginally higher, taking cues from Fed Chair Powell's comments about quantitative easing. Gold for April delivery gained $1.50, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,571.60 an ounce.

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