The stock market continues to rally producing one of its best weekly gains in months. Better than expected earnings from Dow-component Alcoa (AA) last night helped set the positive tone. Retail sales came in better than expected. The initial jobless claims improved. The U.S. dollar is slipping lower again, which is keeping the rally alive in commodities.
Global markets were higher. In Asia the Japanese NIKKEI is still struggling with a rising yen (against the dollar) but the NIKKEI index gained 0.3% after recovering from its morning losses. The Hong Kong Hang Seng posted a 1.1% gain marking its fourth gain in a row. Across Europe stocks were higher. Alcoa's results and strength in gold helped fuel the rally in the mining stocks. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced they would leave interest rates unchanged at 1.0%. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said the 16-nation eurozone was no longer in "freefall". The EU's biggest commodities Germany and France have helped lead the region higher but regulators remain cautious. They plan to keep rates low for the foreseeable future to avoid short-circuiting the recovery.
A report on retail sales added to the bullish tone today. The International Council of Shopping Centers said that retail sales rose 0.1% in September. They didn't say what the margin of error is for this gauge but the news was celebrated as a victory. This was the first monthly gain since July 2008. The RLX retail index is up 2% and nearing its 2009 highs.
Meanwhile the Labor Department offered more good news. The weekly initial jobless claims came in at 521,000 compared to 554,000 the week before. This was better than expected and one of the lowest readings all year long. The number of workers on continuing claims fell to 6.04 million.
The U.S. dollar has fallen to new lows for the year and that's helping power the rally in commodities. Gold is hitting new all-time highs with a $10 gain to $1054.80 an ounce. The $1,050 level was seen as psychological resistance and gold shot right past it. Crude oil is also on the rise with oil futures up more than 3% to $71.73 a barrel. This rise in oil is boosting the oil and oil service stocks. Copper prices are making a dramatic recovery with a sharp rally this week and another 3.7% rally just today.
Currently the S&P 500 index is up about 0.9% at 1067. The 1060 level was short-term resistance so the move is bullish and we're not far from a new high for the year. The NASDAQ composite is up about 0.95% at 2130. The Dow Industrials are up 0.8% and back above the 9800 level. The small cap Russell 2000 index is up 1.2% at 609.
Let's take a quick look at charts for the major averages:
Chart of the S&P 500:
Chart of the NASDAQ:
Chart of the Dow Industrials:
Chart of the Russell 2000 index:
The stock market is still creeping higher and I'm seeing AAPL hit new highs on the OptionInvestor.com play list. ACL is flirting with a close over $140.00. AMZN is breaking out to new 2009 highs and has hit our trigger to buy calls. AVB is rising with a 2.7% gain and has hit our trigger to buy calls. CLB is breaking out and has hit our trigger to buy calls. CNQ is showing lots of strength with a 3.8% gain. CNX has surpassed our first target to take profits at $48.50. DO has exceeded our first target to take profits at $99.90. DRQ has hit our first target to take profits.