DJ30 PointChange: +96.88 Level: 12578.95 NASDAQ PointChange: +41.63 Level: 2769.71 NQ100 PercentChange: +1.4 R2K PercentChange: +1.8 SP400 PercentChange: +1.6 SP500 PointChange: +14.37 Level: 1308.04 NASDAQ-Adv:1948 Dec: 603 NYSE-Adv:2406 Dec: 632
Stocks started the session at the flat line, but were able to put
together a steady ascent that took the broad market to its best level in
Participants initially assumed a positive posture ahead of the open
as they took into consideration mixed action abroad and word that the
International Monetary Fund would like to expand its lending capacity,
reportedly in the range of $600 billion to $1 trillion, in order to be
able to meet a perceived financing shortfall. Strikingly, the news came
the same day that the World Bank lowered its global growth forecast. The
World Bank now expects an increase of 2.5%, down from a 3.6% increase,
for 2012 and growth of 3.1%, down from 3.6%, for 2013.
However, support for stocks waned with the approach of the open. That
left the major equity averages to start the session on a flat note, but
technology stocks, which collectively represent the largest sector by
market weight, were quick to offer leadership. They scored a 1.6% gain
and helped keep the tech-rich Nasdaq out in front of its counterparts
for virtually the entire day.
Yahoo! (YHOO 15.92, +0.49) was among the Nasdaq's
better performers following news that the Internet search firm's
co-founder Jerry Yang will be departing from the company. Still,
semiconductor stocks shined the brightest in the Nasdaq; they climbed
5.0%, as measured by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
Not to be overshadowed, financials rallied back from an early slip to
score a 1.7% gain as a group. The move was led by investment bank and
brokerage play Goldman Sachs (GS 104.31, +6.63), which
proved itself a deft navigator of murky market conditions and
persistently precarious conditions in Europe by posting an upside
earnings surprise that likely fueled some short-covering among those who
had been pessimistic about the firm's prospects in the face of
formidable headwinds. By extension, shares of Morgan Stanley
(MS 17.35, +1.10) bounced ahead of the firm's quarterly report tomorrow
morning. Strength in the sector came even though a handful of other
financial outfits, including U.S. Bancorp (USB 29.08, +0.31) and Northern Trust (NTRS 41.22, -0.71), offered up results that were more mixed overall.
A stronger euro helped perpetuate a positive tone among market
participants. As of the closing bell, the currency had climbed 0.9%
against the greenback. It now sports a week-to-date gain of 1.4%.
Although the broad market was able to work its way up to a sizable
gain and settle at its highest level since this past summer, many
defensive-oriented issues failed to follow the action. Instead,
utilities and consumer staples stocks settled at the flat line, while
telecom mustered a mere gain of 0.3%.
Economic data was pretty much shrugged off by market participants.
Producer prices for December slipped by 0.1%, but core producer prices
increased by 0.3%. Many economists had expected that each price measure
to increase by 0.1%. Industrial production during December increased by
0.4%, which is only slightly less than the 0.5% increase that had been
Financial +1.7%, Tech +1.6%, Consumer Discretionary +1.6%, Energy
+1.5%, Materials +1.1%, Industrials +0.9%, Health Care +0.5%, Telecom
Unchanged: Utilities, Consumer Staples
Declining Sectors: None