Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 172.02, or 1.14%, at 15,242.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index soared 16.43, or 1.01%, at 1,643.16. The Nasdaq jumped 40.11, or 1.17%, at 3,463.67.
Stock Market Today Results
All good things must come to an end...
A winning investment strategy since the start of the year has been to buy the dips. But that tactic may be changing in the stock market today.
In another rollercoaster session on Wednesday, U.S. equities fell as investors prolonged a recent selloff spurred by the unwinding of bullish bets.
Disappointing news that China's economic growth slowed in the first quarter sent the stock market today (Monday) reeling.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.61% to 14,773.75. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index slumped 0.75% to 1,576.87. The Nasdaq fell 0.80% to 3,268.45. Oil slipped 3.44% to $88 a barrel.
And the biggest loser of the day, gold plunged as much as 6.3%, hitting a low of $1,384.60.
Dragging stocks down was a report that China's economy grew at 7.7% in Q1, weaker than the 8% growth economists were expecting, and down from Q4's 7.9%. This rattled global markets, as fears spread that there would be continued lower demand for Chinese goods and services.
"The international situation continues to concern people, both in regard to Europe and China," John Carey, a fund manager for Pioneer Investment Management Inc., told Bloomberg News. "People are watching for some signs of improvement in both areas. Otherwise we're just in the early stages of earnings season, so people will have one eye on what's going on outside the U.S. and another close eye on what's happening with regard to earnings."
More than 75 members of the S&P 500 are scheduled to report earnings this week. Here are some to watch, along with the biggest headline makers in the stock market today.
Coming off the worst week of the year, market participants have a cautious stance in the stock market today as earnings season kicks off - and will likely disappoint.
The Dow fell 13.29 points, or 0.09%, to 14,565.25 last week. The S&P shed 15.91, or 1.01%, to end the week at 1,553.28.
Monday, guarded investors kept a wary eye on developments in Eurozone, nuclear tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and Alcoa Inc.'s (NYSE: AA) earnings after the bell-the unofficial kick-off to Q1 earnings reports.
Red flags are waving that companies will report a slowdown in corporate profits. A number of companies have delivered lower guidance, with pre-earnings announcements sloped to the negative side. Companies in the S&P are expected to increase Q1 earnings a measly 1.5% over last year, according to Thomson Reuters.
Weak earnings could push any nervous investors to take gains and bail on markets for a while.
"Right now, projections for earnings in 2013 and the market are based on optimistic assumption," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst with S&P Dow Jones Indices told Barron's. "We can meet estimates if things move in the right direction. But the economy does not go straight up or down. There are bumps up or down. There are bumps in the road. And investors rarely get everything they need or want."
Here are some upcoming earnings reports to watch, as well as two of the biggest deals moving stocks this week.
The U.S. stock market logged an impressive first quarter.
Shrugging off budget cuts, tax hikes, and more Eurozone misery, U.S. stocks climbed to record territory on several occasions.
On March 5, the Dow broke through its record close of 14,165, previously hit Oct. 9, 2007. Meanwhile, the S&P has been flirting with its 1,565 record high for weeks.
The most recent milestones came Thursday when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at yet another record, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index finally closed above its all-time high.
Thursday closed out Q1 with the Dow adding 52.38 points, or 0.36%, to close at 14,578.54. The S&P tacked on 6.34, or 0.41%, to close at 1,569.19.
Here's a look at the quarter's biggest gains and losses, as well as what investors should do now as we head into April.
A handful of economic data helped the stock market today (Tuesday) resume a robust rally - but are we due for a pullback?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 111.90 points, or 0.77%, at 14,559.65. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index jumped 12.08 points, or 0.78%, to 1,563.77 - just a couple points from its record high. The Nasdaq climbed 17.18 points, or 0.53%, to close at 3,252.48.
The broad-based stock market rally followed a sell-off Monday, which took the Dow down 64.28 points, or 0.4%, to close at 14,447.75. The S&P and Nasdaq both fell 0.3% as investors mulled a bailout deal for Cyprus.
But the old adage that investors have a very short memory rang true Tuesday. Shrugging off yesterday's woes, market participants instead focused on encouraging U.S. economic data.
Buoying stocks Tuesday was a Commerce Department report that showed durable goods orders surged 5.7% in February. That handily beat economists' expectations of a 0.5% rise and reversed January's 3.8% plunge.
A separate report Tuesday revealed single-family home prices began 2013 with the biggest annual increase in six-and-a-half years. The S&P/Case Shiller composite index report is a further sign of a recovery in the housing market.
But the big question is if the rally will last.
After a seven-day rally that produced consecutive record highs for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the stock market today (Tuesday) took a breather.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 16.66 or .12% at 14,430.63. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was off 4.94, or .32% at 1,551.37. The Nasdaq was lower by 16.30, or .50% at 3,236.
"We've just been going up and up and up every day, and now a slight pullback. There is nothing surprising here, by any stretch of the imagination-it's natural to get a little pullback like this," Sean Kelly, managing director at Knight Capital told The Wall Street Journal.
Market participants continue to closely watch the S&P 500 Index. The broad-based market benchmark is close to its all-time closing high of 1,565.15 hit on Oct. 9, 2007.
But investors may be getting a bit concerned about the recent bull run. After falling to a six-year low on Monday, the VIX (the market's fear index), rose 7.8% Tuesday.
Also, the current bull market is aging. It turned 4 on Saturday. Only five of the past 11 bull markets have made it to their fifth birthday, according to data from S&P Capital. The average bull market since 1932 has endured for roughly four-and-a-half years.
Not helping stocks Tuesday was a read from the National Federation of Independent Business. While the report showed its small business optimism index rose in February, exceeding expectations, the federation's reading on expected business conditions remained in deep recession territory. Moreover, business owners reporting declining sales far surpassed those reporting increased sales.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average set another fresh high when the stock market today (Friday) opened up, thanks to a stronger-than-expected jobs report.
Right out of the gate, the Dow was up 80.93 points, or 0.56%, at 14,410.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.36, or 0.48%, at 1,551.62, logging its sixth consecutive day of gains. The Nasdaq was up 15.21 points, or .47%, at 3,247.30.
Stocks have been on a tear since Tuesday when the Dow surpassed its all-time high of 14,164.53 hit on Oct. 9, 2007. The benchmark is up roughly 9% year-to-date. The S&P, a broader measure of the overall markets, is in reach of its record 1,565 close hit in 2007.
Investors continue to pile into equities on the new highs - especially as more companies announce increases in dividends and stock buybacks.
Equity market cheerleaders got very excited about the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a new record high yesterday (Tuesday).
The Dow closed at 14,253.77, topping its previous record close of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007.
While it is nice to see a sign that equities are improving following the devastating shock of the financial crisis of 2008, today's Dow Jones Industrial Average is not the same index as it was in 2007.
In fact, if we look back at when the Dow Jones Industrial Average last exceeded 14,000, we'll see that the Dow seems to have less of a connection now to what is really happening in the economy than it did in 2007.
The stock market today (Wednesday) opened modestly higher before staging a strong rally by mid-day.
Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had jumped 133 points, or .96%, to 14,033, putting it within reach of its all-time high of 14,164, set in 2007. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 15.71, or 1.05%, to 1,512; and the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 35.18, or 1.09%, to 3,163.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke remains in the spotlight today. The Fed chief continues to defend the central bank's easy-money policies in his second day of testimony before Congress.
Also garnering attention was the Commerce Department's report that showed a 5.2% drop in orders for durable goods - products designed to last at least three years. The decline, steeper than the 3.5% decline economists had expected, came after strong gains in the previous month.
The slump shows the impact from reduced spending, ahead of sequestration, that has already taken hold.
With defense contractors feeling the effects of impending automatic spending cuts, defense capital goods orders plunged 69.5% in January, marking the steepest drop in more than a decade.
Also falling was demand for civilian aircraft, which plummeted 34%. The steep drop in this volatile category was attributed to a decline in orders at The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) due to battery problems in its Dreamliner 787.
The stock market today got a boost from the National Association of Realtors monthly index report of pending sales of existing U.S. homes - up 4.5% in January from the previous month, handily beating the 1.5% analysts had projected.
And providing a cushion, if not a catalyst, to markets, was an announcement from Fitch Ratings. The firm said that while sequester and a U.S. government shutdown would "erode confidence," it wouldn't prompt a downgrade of the nation's AAA credit rating.
After two days of losses, the stock market today (Friday) reversed the slide and opened higher, thanks to better-than-expected earnings from Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG)
Shortly before 1 p.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 114 points to 13,994.62, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 10.6 to 1,513.02 and the Nasdaq advanced 25 to 3,156.34.
While all three indexes are on track for their worst week of the year, the Dow is still up some 6% since the start of 2013, the S&P 500 has gained 5% and the Nasdaq has tacked on almost 4% despite giving back all of February's gains during the two-day selloff.
Since January 1st, the average daily price volatility of stocks has fallen more than 60%. It's the biggest straight-line drop in 82 years.
A lot of investors are rejoicing. After all, stocks have risen an average of 17% a year when volatility is this low, Bloomberg reports.
There is, however, a dark side. Periods of abnormally low volatility are a warning bell. Namely, they tend to precede powerful reversals that can wipe out investors, as was the case in 2000 and early 2008, and at other key turning points in the past 100 years.
So today let's talk about what low volatility means for you - both in terms of upside and how to protect yourself in a downslide.
If nothing else, <a href="http://moneymorning.com/2013/02/22/as-volatility-hits-new-lows-it-could-be-time-to-sell/"you've got to see this chart...
The stock market today (Monday) took a breather after a robust rally last week that left the Dow Jones Industrial Average just 155 points from its all-time high of 14,165.
In early afternoon trading Monday, the Dow gave back 125 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 14, and the Nasdaq lost 38.
The pullback came on the heels of strong gains in January in which the Dow added 5.9%, marking the index's best performance for the first month of a year since 1994.
Most analysts remain bullish and aren't worried by Monday's declines, saying stocks were due for a temporary retraction and some profit-taking was in order.
"We should get a pullback. Markets have been on a tear and they have been on a tear for good, sound economic and earnings-driven reasons," Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Capital in Jersey City, NJ told Reuters.
The stock market today was proof that one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch.
The Dow was up 55 points by 3:15, the S&P 500 up 1 - but the Nasdaq did slump 20 points, dragged down by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).
Thursday's advance came on the heels of the Dow's 67-point rise Wednesday which was stoked by a vote in the House of Representatives to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling through May 19.
Also propelling gains Wednesday were strong results from tech heavyweights Google INc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), which beat estimates and spiked $38.63 points higher, and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), which rallied 4.4% after posting better-than-expected numbers.
To date, some 75% of the 134 companies in the S&P 500 Index that have reported results have handily beat expectations.
"People are just trying to digest all the earnings reports from the various companies. As long as the economy seems to get better the stock market will do well," Giri Cherukuri, portfolio manager who helps manage $3 billion at Oakbrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois, told Bloomberg.