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The DJIA today added 92 points to close at a new record high. The cause? Eurozone partners' acceptance of Greece's bailout plan, plus market-friendly words from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen about interest rates.
The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq are all up year to date. Money Morning Technical Trading Strategist D.R. Barton joined Chuck Jaffe's "MoneyLife" radio show Monday to discuss the three big trends driving 2015's strong performance, plus the best sectors to buy into heading into Q2…Today's Scorecard:
Dow Jones: 18,209.19, +92.35, +0.51%
S&P 500: 2,115.48, +5.81, +0.28%
Nasdaq: 4,968.12, +7.15, +0.14%
The S&P 500 Volatility Index (VIX), the market's fear gauge, plunged 5.7% on the day.
What Moved the DJIA Today: European ministers accepted a deal this morning that will extend Greece's financial bailout for four months. In reality, though, this has just kicked the problem down the road until June and July. Difficult negotiations and a possible state bankruptcy are still possible scenarios in the months ahead.
Stateside, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said today the central bank will not raise interest rates for several more committee meetings. During her testimony before the Senate, Yellen said the Federal Open Market Committee will consider future rate hikes "on a meeting by meeting basis." The Fed futures market now prices in the likelihood of a September rate increase at roughly 50%. Stocks rose higher, while the dollar slipped.
Despite the cheering from Wall Street, investors will still look toward Yellen's testimony tomorrow before the House of Representatives. Also ahead are employment figures on Thursday and an expected downward revision to fourth-quarter GDP on Friday.
Now, check out the other top stories that moved the DJIA today – plus get our new profit tip for investors:
- Earnings Blowout: Shares of Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD) surged more than 4% after the home improvement retailer announced an $18 billion stock buyback program and better than expected quarterly earnings and same-store sales in the fourth quarter. Home Depot reported per-share earnings of $1.00, besting analyst expectations of $0.89. Meanwhile quarter revenue of $19.16 billion easily outpaced consensus estimates of $18.7 billion.
- Keystone Cops: President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have approved the final construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. For nearly six years, Congress and the president have sparred over this political football, which we've long exposed to be little more than a national embarrassment. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this afternoon that Congress would begin efforts to override the veto, although it's unclear if Republicans will be able to gain the required two-thirds majority to do so. Shares of TransCanada Corp. (USA) (NYSE: TRP), the company that would operate the proposed pipeline, gained 0.27% on the day.
- Housing Hurrah: Investors cheered on news that the S&P/Case Shiller index of home prices increased 4.5% in December, beating analyst expectations of 4.3% and the November reading of 4.3%. The news also helped boost shares of Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), which gained 3.85%. The high-end homebuilder reported stronger than expected quarterly earnings and boosted its 2015 construction forecast.
- Banking Boom: Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) jumped 2.48% on news banking giant plans to slash roughly $1.4 billion in annual expenses. The company also announced plans to shutter a number of community banks and begin charging some larger clients for deposits.
- Solar Surge: Shares of First Solar Inc.(Nasdaq: FSLR) surged more than 10%, while SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) jumped nearly 18% on news the rival solar companies are in the process of launching a spin-off company. The companies are reportedly negotiating a pact to create a "yieldco," a joint vehicle of pooled alternative generation assets.
- An Apple a Day: Shares of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) hit another all-time intraday high this afternoon, before reversing course. Apple stock is now trading near $132, with its market cap approaching $800 billion. Yesterday, the company announced plans to invest €1.7 billion ($1.92 billion) to build two data centers in Europe that will operate completely on renewable energy.
Money Morning Tip of the Day: The smart money is pouring into renewable energy.
Today's tip comes from Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors:
In the future, the big picture in energy will have less and less to do with crude oil.
Oil won't disappear – but to meet growing energy demand, there will be an increasing reliance on alternative and renewable forms of energy.
Spending on renewable energy was so strong in 2014 that some have labeled it a "turning point" in the energy balance. According to a recent report in Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the total invested in renewable power jumped to $310 billion last year. That's up more than 16% from 2014 – with solar in the lead.
Solar power is coming on fast. Solar has now achieved grid parity in many regions of the country, meaning it's no longer more expensive than the traditional ways of generating electricity.
And that's just one of the opportunities that will hand us some nice profits… no matter what happens to the price of crude.
To read more about this new energy balance, check out "Non-Oil" Energy Investment Is Exploding