Stocks continue to drift higher as traders bought the morning dip. The overall news flow is relatively quiet. A bounce in the U.S. dollar is not having much impact on commodities. Crude oil is off about 11 cents near $81.75 a barrel. Gold futures are trading near unchanged around $1,123 an ounce. A couple of the major indices are hitting new 52-week highs.
Asian markets were mixed. The Japanese NIKKEI underperformed with a 0.17% loss. Chinese stocks recovered from their morning weakness. The real estate sector helped drive the rally. The Hong Kong Hang Seng closed up 0.05%. The Chinese Shanghai gained 0.5%. Meanwhile in Europe stocks swooned midday only to bounce back into positive territory by the closing bell. Investors were digesting some mixed economic data out of England. Britain's trade deficit widened in January while home prices produced a very minor gain and retail sales recovered from the slow, snow-covered January pace. The English FTSE index closed (barely) in positive territory with a +0.01% gain. Both the German DAX and French CAC-40 closed up +0.17%.
The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans made headlines this morning after speaking to the National Association for Business Economics. Mr. Evans reinforced the current outlook that the weak U.S. labor market would keep the Fed on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of unemployment the nation's second largest oil producer, Chevron, just announced they were cutting 2,000 jobs this year and would continue to reduce its workforce throughout 2011. Shares of CVX are up 0.25% and trying to breakout over resistance near $75.00 and its 50-dma.
You may have noticed there is a growing trend of 3-D movies coming out. Now that trend is moving toward your living room. Samsung, the planet's biggest TV maker, and Panasonic announced they will begin selling 3-D TVs in the U.S. this week. The basic flat-panel model will start around $3,000. They didn't say how many pairs of the 3-D glasses came with the TV but you'll need a 3-D DVD player as well.
Overall the market is seeing a widespread rally. The DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell 2000 are all hitting new relative highs (the $RUT and NASDAQ are hitting new 52-week highs). A few sectors are lagging behind are oil services, gold miners, and healthcare still in the red. The best performers today are railroads (+1.9%), casino stocks (+1.8%), airlines (+3.8%), and networking stocks (+1.3%).
Chart of the S&P 500:
Chart of the NASDAQ:
Chart of the Dow Industrials:
Chart of the Russell 2000 index:
Scanning the OptionInvestor.com play list I see that CSCO is not seeing much of a move after announcing a new high-speed router. CL is bouncing and shares just are about to hit our target to exit near $85.00. TEVA is bouncing again. Meanwhile the bounce in ATHN is beginning to fade.