All of the major U.S. indices are up and hitting new 2009 highs as the Christmas rally continues to sweep across the market. Investors were digesting durable goods orders, lower jobless claims and the first Senate Christmas Eve vote in 114 years. The U.S. dollar retreated giving commodities a push. Crude oil is up above $77 a barrel while gold futures are trading back above $1,100 an ounce.
The major foreign markets were up across the board. The Japanese NIKKEI gained 1.5% following yesterday's holiday closure. The Hong Kong Hang Seng rose 0.88% marking its third gain in a row. The Chinese Shanghai index soared 2.59% posting its biggest one-day gain in a month. The major European markets all stretched their gains to four in a row. The English FTSE rising 0.5%. The German DAX up 0.2%. The French CAC-40 squeaking by with a 0.05% gain.
There was some economic data out today with the durable goods orders and the weekly initial jobless claims. The Commerce Department said durable goods orders rose 0.2%, which was weaker than the 0.5% estimate. However, analysts like to look past the headline number and strip out the more volatile transportation figures. Minus transport goods the durable goods orders in November rose 2.0%, which was twice what economists were expecting. Meanwhile the Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell 28,000 to 452,000 last week. Economists were expecting 470,000. The four-week moving average posted its 16th weekly decline in a row.
One of the big headlines today was a Christmas Eve vote by the Senate. The last time the Senate held a vote on Christmas eve was 1895. After 24 days of floor debate 58 democrats and two independents passed the controversial $871 billion healthcare bill with a 60-39 vote. Republicans were unanimous with their "no" vote on the bill. Now the bill must be merged with the House version of the bill before it moves to President Obama to be signed into law. Since the Senate was already there they decided to go ahead and vote on raising the U.S. debt ceiling by $290 billion to $12.4 trillion. This allows the U.S. Treasury to keep selling bonds (a.k.a. our national credit card) so the government will continue to run until mid February.
Overall the market is seeing a widespread rally. The S&P 500 is hitting new 2009 highs with a breakout past the 1120 level. The NASDAQ extends its gains with a new high above 2280. The Dow Industrials joins the new high list with a breakout over the 10,500 level. The small cap Russell 2000 index also hits another new 2009 high after breaking out past resistance yesterday.
Chart of the S&P 500:
Chart of the NASDAQ:
Chart of the Dow Industrials:
Chart of the Russell 2000 index:
The major market averages are hitting new highs but our play list is mostly drifting sideways. Commodity-related stocks are doing well and shares of NUE are up another 2.2% to trade above $47. Apple Inc. (AAPL) is up big (+3.4%) on news that the company might announce a tablet PC next month. Shares of AAPL are racing higher and just edged past their 2009 highs from October.