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MARKETS SNAPSHOT FOR 10/11/11

Thursday, 10 November 2011 | 22:00

DJ30 PointChange: +110.42 Level: 11891.36 NASDAQ PointChange: +1.96 Level: 2623.61 NQ100 PercentChange: -0.1 R2K PercentChange: +0.7 SP400 PercentChange: +0.3 SP500 PointChange: +9.62 Level: 1238.72 NASDAQ-Adv:1574 Dec: 940 NYSE-Adv:2099 Dec: 912

[BRIEFING.COM] Both the Dow and S&P 500 scored strong gains today, but lackluster action among tech stocks left the Nasdaq to end the day only narrowly above the neutral line.

The risk trade was turned back on this morning. Participants put in the past the prior session's slump, which was the worst one-day percentage drop for the S&P 500 about three months, to bid stocks higher in the early going. Buyers were compelled by improved market conditions in Europe and, partly, because Italy held a successful auction of 12-month bills. Although the auction commanded a yield comfortably above 6.0%, demand for the country's debt suggested that investors haven't completely given up on the country.

Improved sentiment in Europe helped take the euro higher after it had dropped about 2% against the dollar yesterday. Today it climbed about 0.6% to $1.361.

With an opening gain on the order of 1% things were looking for stocks up in early trade, but before long stocks began to drift lower. Fear of another sell-off perpetuated further selling, but stocks found stability upon reaching the flat line. From there the market was able to rebound, but the path higher was choppy.

Every single sector settled in positive territory, but tech stocks lagged for the entire session. They finished with a paltry gain of 0.1% and ultimately hampered the Nasdaq, which trailed its counterparts since the open. That said, Cisco (CSCO 18.61, +1.00) climbed to a new multi-month high with help from an upside earnings report.

Energy stocks were leaders for the better part of the day. The sector scored a near 2% gain with help from higher oil prices, which settled pit trade more than 2% higher, near $98 per barrel.

Data today had little lasting influence on sentiment. The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 390,000, which is less than than 400,000 claims that had been exected, on average, among economists polled by Briefing.com. The latest tally is also 10,000 less than the prior week total.

The trade deficit contracted to $43.1 billion in September from $44.9 billion in the prior month. A $45.9 billion deficit had been widely expected for September.

As for the Treasury Budget. It had a deficit of $98.5 billion, which is less than the $105.0 billion deficit that had been expected to follow the $140.0 billion deficit from the prior month.

Advancing Sectors: Energy +1.8%, Health Care +1.4%, Industrials +1.1%, Materials +0.9%, Consumer Discretionary +0.9%, Telecom +0.9%, Consumer Staples +0.9%, Utilities +0.6%, Financials +0.6%, Tech +0.1%
Declining Sectors: (None)

Source: Briefing

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