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Friday, November 5, 2010

WALL STREET >>> Indexes Assail New Highs as Street Embraces Stimulus Measures

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) boasted a triple-digit surplus within the first five minutes of trading today, as the Street embraced the Federal Reserve's latest efforts to stimulate the economy with U.S. stocks surged Thursday, with the Dow industrials closing above where it stood just ahead of the collapse of Lehman Brothers when the Dow fell 504 points on Sept. 15, 2008, the day of Lehman’s bankruptcy filing.

The central bankers' vow to buy $600 billion in bonds helped to offset a steeper-than-anticipated jump in first-time jobless claims, and lent strength to dollar-denominated commodities like crude and gold. Meanwhile, the bulls also celebrated encouraging data on the retail front, with Gap Inc. (GPS) just one of many firms to report stronger-than-expected same-store sales last month. Against this backdrop, all three major market indexes skyrocketed into territory not charted since September 2008, marking the DJIA's best session in more than two months.

Dow recoups losses that followed Lehman’s collapse
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,434.84) finished near its session highs, tacking on 219.71 points, or 2%, to end at its highest price in more than two years. All but Pfizer (PFE) ended in the black, with financial concerns Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) pacing the 29 advancing blue chips with gains of more than 5.3% apiece.

Stimulated S&P Recaptures ’08 Levels
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,221.06) also settled at a two-year peak, adding 23.1 points, or 1.9%, by the close. What's more, today marks the broad-market barometer's first finish north of the 1,200 level since May 2010. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,577.34) followed suit, advancing 37.1 points, or 1.5%, to end at its loftiest level since January 2008. Furthermore, the tech-rich index is on pace to settle the week atop the 2,500 level for only the second time since May 2008.

Crude futures continued their journey into the black today, thanks to an ailing greenback. More specifically, the Fed's decision to inject $600 billion into the markets pushed the greenback to new lows, making it cheaper for foreign-currency holders to scoop up the dollar-denominated commodity. In addition, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) lifted its global oil-consumption outlook by 800,000 barrels a day for 2014, which also acted as a boon for black gold. By the close, December-dated crude oil futures tacked on $1.80, or 1.9%, to end at $86.54 per barrel – its loftiest closing price since April.
Gold futures rallied to a record high today, thanks to the weaker dollar and inflationary concerns stemming from the Fed's stimulus package. Furthermore, a bigger-than-expected jump in initial jobless claims helped to bolster the malleable metal's safe-haven appeal. Against this backdrop, gold for December delivery advanced $45.50, or 3.4%, to finish at an all-time high of $1,383.10 an ounce.

"If the president wants a Slurpee Summit, we're offering to cater it with red and blue Slurpees – and we'll even offer a purple Slurpee, since that's what you get when you bring red and blue together."


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