Stocks were mixed Thursday with the S&P 500 fractionally (and I mean fractionally) making a 7th straight day of new highs whereas the NASDAQ was hurt to the tune of 0.74%, largely due to the damage done by Apple (AAPL) which fell as whopping 12.35%. The broader market surprisingly ignored the Apple news as purchasing managers data in China reached a 2 year high, and the same data from Europe improved slightly from the month before. That led to a morning rally which pushed the S&P 500 over the vaunted 1500 level. However there was some selling in early afternoon but the daily barrage of late afternoon buyers showed up yet again to help lift indexes off their lows.
Let's look at some long term charts for the indexes below; first the more healthy S&P 500 which is in its third ascending channel of the past year+. This index is currently dancing at the very top of the channel, frustrating anyone who is calling for this rally to slow down.
The NASDAQ, while in the same general pattern of three channels, still is at risk of a "head and shoulders" formation as this recent leg up has not surpassed the highs of early fall. In fact it has been mostly stuck near the highs of last spring. Obviously this is mostly due to Apple.
Speaking of, I want to highlight the gap in the $420s from January 2012 that it seems Apple will eventually be heading to fill. Not only did the stock open badly today, it closed on its lows which is a bad sign.
On the flip side, we mentioned Netflix's 30%+ move in after hours yesterday - well make it 40%+! A breathtaking move in a heavily shorted stock. The stock actually gapped above any level it traded in 2012.
We've mentioned the strength in transports of late - today we had another example as two trucking companies, Swift Transportation (SWFT) and JB Hunt (JBHT) had monster days post earnings. JBHT's earnings weren't even particularly impressive (a 1 cent beat)but right now the market is rewarding these transportation companies.
Swift's shares were up more than 26% to a 52-week high in Thursday afternoon trading after the trucker crushed fourth-quarter estimates late Wednesday. Swift said EPS rose 31% to 38 cents, beating the consensus of 19 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters by 12 cents.
Larger rival J.B. Hunt, whose fleet of 10,000 trucks and tractors and more than 75,000 trailers haul goods in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, said Q4 EPS swelled 15% to 70 cents. That beat estimates by a penny.
In a report Tuesday, the American Trucking Association said its seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 2.8% in December after surging 3.9% in November. "The back-to-back increases in November and December were by far the best gains of 2012," the report said.