U.S. equities followed Europe's lead and headed higher when the stock market today (Monday) opened.
Wall Street's mood was lifted after Enrico Letta was sworn in as Italy's prime minister, ending weeks of political gridlock in the ailing European nation. The news also propelled Italian stocks up more than 1%.
Shortly before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 68.55 points, or 0.47%, at 14,781.10. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index was higher by 8.59, or 0.54%, at 1,590.83. The Nasdaq climbed 26.72, or 0.81% at 3,305.98.
Another lift to the stock market today came from a report on March consumer spending. The read was 2%, much better than and 0.1% rise economists had expected and up from a 0.7% gain in February and a 0.4% advance in January.
With just two more trading sessions left in the month, U.S. stocks are set to end April with gains. That would mark the fourth consecutive positive month for equities.
But it's about that time when the familiar spring swoon weighs on stocks in the near term.
According to data from Bespoke Investment Group, over the past 30 years, an investor who bought the S&P 500 Index every Oct. 31 and sold the following April 30 would have reaped a 898% gain. In contrast, buying every April 30 and selling every late October would have returned just 56%.
Stock Market Today: Don't Miss These Earnings Reports
Coming off the worst week of the year, U.S. equities were mixed in the stock market today (Monday) at we kick off a big week for earnings.
In mid-afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 14.19, or 0.10%, at 14,533.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 2.50, or 0.22%, to 1,558.93.
The Nasdaq was up 20.17, or 0.63%, to 3,226.23.
Gold, which lost 7%, or $105.70 a troy ounce last week, was down 20 cents, to $1,426.30.
With Another Stock Market Record in Reach, Here's What to Do Now
It's time for some insight.
I'm constantly asked where I think the stock market is going next. Since the Dow recently reached new highs and the S&P 500 is pushing its old October 2007 highs, it's no wonder that's the question on everyone's mind and lips.
My answer is: I don't know where it's going. But I do know what to do about it.
Here's the thing...
How the Stock Market Today Digested Cyprus News
Worries over the plan to force bank depositors in Cyprus to help fund a $13 billion international bailout rattled global equities and sent the U.S. stock market today (Monday) lower.
Right after the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq were all sharply lower.
By mid-afternoon, all three indexes remained in negative territory with the Dow down 4.76, or .03% at 14,509.03; the S&P down 2.97, or 0.17%, at 1,557. 73, and the Nasdaq down 2.11, or 0.11%, at 3,247.
Sending global markets lower Monday was the unprecedented agreement reached this weekend over Cyprus' bailout plan.
The proposed plan - by representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and Eurozone's finance ministers - includes taxing deposits over 100,000 euros ($128,950) at 9.9%, while those with less than that amount would be subject to a 6.75% levy.
The aim is to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.52 billion) that would go toward the $13 billion international bailout of the country.
Why this Ivy League Professor Sees Dow Hitting 18,000
The bears predicting a stock market crash have it all wrong.
So says Jeremy Siegel, finance professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and author of "Stocks for the Long Run." He predicts the Dow - which closed yesterday (Wednesday) at a new record high 14,455.28 - will continue the bull market run, ending this year in the 16,000 to 17,000 range.
For 2014, he says, the "best bet goal" is the Dow will climb to 18,000.
And the well-known bull has nearly 150 years of data to back up his bold prediction.
Here's why Siegel is so bullish.
The FBI and the SEC Are Cracking Down on People Just Like You
Some people will do anything to make money in the market.
Believe it or not, folks have even resorted to manipulating stocks to fatten their wallets.
And, crazy as this sounds, there are more people doing it than anyone imagined.
Now, I know you'd never do that. But the SEC isn't so sure. Neither is the FBI.
According to yesterday's Financial Times (the pink paper that some financial types read), the FBI is joining forces with the SEC in order to "tackle the potential threat of market manipulation... that [has] taken markets beyond the scope of traditional policing."
What's hilarious to me is that, before the FBI goes looking for market manipulators (like you) along with the SEC, it should be looking at the SEC!
But I digress...
Will the Year of the Snake Bring Another Stock Market Crash?
The Chinese New Year officially began Feb. 10, bringing us the year of the snake - which some investors consider a very bad omen.
Not only does the year of the snake have the worst stock market returns of all zodiac signs, but some of the darkest moments in U.S. history have come during that zodiac year.
Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS AG (NYSE: UBS), appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" Monday and even listed the year of the snake as one reason investors should be cautious about stocks.
And there's plenty of history to back up Cashin's statement.
Stock Market Today: Will the Dow Keep Going Above 14,000?
The stock market today (Friday) hit a high not seen in more than five years when the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 14,000 for the first time since October 2007.
Less than an hour into trading the Dow spiked 140 points, or 1%, to hit 14,000.97. In mid-afternoon trading, the Dow rallied further, tacking on 150 points. The move leaves the Dow around 200 points, or 2%, from its all-time high of 14,198.10.
Friday's strong showing came on the heels of the Dow's strongest January (up 5.8%) since 1994.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index, which logged its best January since 1997, added 15 points, or just shy of 1%. The Nasdaq advanced 40.
The robust rally followed a lackluster report on the job market which gave "strength to the argument that the Fed will continue its bond buying program and keep rates low, which is also a positive for the stock market," Tom Schrader, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus told CNN Money.
That sentiment also gave bonds and precious metals a boost. Gold prices moved up $7 to $1,670. Silver added 37 cents to $31.94
A bevy of reports helped buoy markets Friday.
A Census Bureau report showed construction rose 0.9% in December, well above forecasts. The Institute for Supply Management's monthly manufacturing index rose to 53.1 in January, ahead of the expected 50.5 read, and the University of Michigan's sentiment index climbed to 73.8 last month, better than the expected 71.4.
Is the Obama Stock Market Rally the Real Deal?
At first glance, there can be no doubt that U.S. President Barack Obama has been good for the stock market.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index has rallied by nearly 700 points - just shy of 86% - since the president's first Inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.
This is the best stock market performance for a presidential first term since World War II, even beating the 79.2% rally during President Bill Clinton's first term in the White House, from January 1993 to January 1997.
In fact, the only time stocks rallied more during a presidential first term was during Franklin Roosevelt's first term from March 4, 1933, to Jan. 20, 1937, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 245% off of Depression-era lows.
In a very broad sense, the condition of the stock market at the start of President Obama's first term in 2009 can be compared to the stock market in 1933. In both cases, stock prices had collapsed and were trading at generational lows when both presidents took office. In both cases, share prices rallied substantially off of the bottom as economic conditions improved.
But all this really proves is that the first leg of any rally is usually the strongest and most profitable.
As the S&P 500 is at a five-year high and is zeroing in on the 1,500 level for the third time in its history, one has to wonder if the Obama Rally is sustainable or are we just reverting to the mean?
Stock Market Today: Builders, Banks, Boeing in Focus
The stock market today rose right out of the gate Thursday on improved economic data, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 70 points just before noon, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index up 7.
Giving equities a lift was a pair of reports that showed the U.S. economy continues on the path to recovery.
The Department of Commerce reported Thursday morning that construction for new U.S. homes leapt in December to the highest rate in more than four years. Gains were logged all across the nation, as well as in buildings and single family homes.
The 12.1% jump in housing starts in December was the best reading since June 2008.
"Overall, this report reinforces the current narrative of a positive growth momentum in the housing sector," Millan Mulraine, a macro strategist at TD Securities told Market Watch.
A measure of homebuilders on the S&P 500 jumped 2.1%, poised for the highest closing level since 2007.
The second report that juiced markets was data from the Labor Department. A report revealed the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected in the latest week to the lowest level in five years.
In the week ending Jan. 12, applications for jobless benefits fell by 37,000 to 335,000, marking the lowest level since Jan. 19, 2008, and well below estimates of 369,000.
"The labor market is certainly getting better," Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe General in New York, told Bloomberg News.
Even with typical seasonal adjustment, Jones added, "this is still a good report. Chances are claims remain at a fairly low level."