Monday's selling and first serious losses of 2013 was followed by a substantial rally, stopping any momentum by bears dead in their tracks. This was the third straight session of 1% type moves in the S&P 500, each in a completely different direction. The S&P 500 gained 1.04% and the NASDAQ 1.29%. There was no dramatic news event to drive stocks early in the day, they simply gapped higher on the open and continued upward almost the entire session. There was an ISM Non Manufacturing report that was mostly in line but stocks were already well on their way by the time it was released.
It was yet another quiet session on Wall Street as a very similar pattern has played out the past few days. A modest gap down to start the day followed by light buying all day with the indexes closing near the highs of the day. But there has been almost no movement at all in the closing price the past week. The S&P 500 has finished within a 2 point range in this five day period. This lack of progress is however helping work off the overbought condition the market has been in for most of January. The S&P 500 gained 0.02% and the NASDAQ added 0.22% mostly on the back of a big rebound by Apple.
Stocks were at important inflection points to begin the month of November, and the resolution of that issue was to the upside. At least for the day. Tomorrow's employment data should set the tone for the next few days leading to the election. A bevy of economic news was released today - some of it delayed by Hurricane Sandy - and most of it was good enough to lift spirits, if nothing special. The most prominent was an ISM Manufacturing report which showed a second month of better readings, along with a monthly employment gain well north of 100K by payroll process company ADP.
Stocks finished off their worst week since June with losses of 0.3% in the S&P 500 and 0.17% in the NASDAQ. Stocks were choppy in the early going as earnings reports by banks JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) did not impress but got a brief bump in the morning on a consumer confidence survey that came in better than expected.
Today JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon shared the good news that his bank had passed the stress tests, fueling further market gains late afternoon. The bank also announced it will raise its quarterly dividend to 30 cents and buy back $12 billion worth of stock. The stock finished the day up 7%. Four of 19 banks failed the stress test: Citigroup, SunTrust Capital, Ally, and MetLife.
The Nasdaq vaulted 1.9%, reaching its highest since November 2000, and Apple stock (AAPL) had another big day, adding 2.9% as shares closed at $568.10 which is yet another record high. The company now boasts a market cap of nearly $530 Billion.