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Thursday, November 4, 2010

WALL STREET >>> Investors Unexcited By Fed $600 Billion Injection; Cool On Election Results

DJIA, COMP At 2 -Year Highs, Late-Session Rebound
Stocks continued Tuesday's climb right out of the gate this morning, as the Street embraced the shifting political tide on Capitol Hill and a report showing a larger-than-anticipated increase in private-sector employment last month. However, the already-muted optimism waned around midday, as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's policy statement with bated breath.
At 2:15 p.m., Ben Bernanke and company announced plans to purchase $600 billion of longer-term Treasury notes by mid-2011, and said they'll keep interest rates at rock-bottom levels for an extended period of time. However, despite comments that the economy's progress has been "disappointingly slow," the central bankers' relatively unsurprising statement appeared to be just what the doctor ordered, with stocks muscling back atop breakeven by the close.

"So much for 'sell the news'. With the election and Fed stance going pretty much as scripted, the well-advertised 'sell the news' effect didn't take place, comparing today's price action to "watching paint dry."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,215.13) spent time on both sides of the breakeven line, but eventually finished with a gain of 26.4 points, or 0.2%, to end at its highest price since September 2008. All but nine of the Dow's 30 components settled higher, with Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) pacing the 21 advancing equities, while Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) led the blue-chip laggards.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,197.96) also powered higher by the close, tacking on 4.4 points, or 0.4%. However, the broad-market barometer's upward trajectory was halted in the 1,200 region – a level the SPX hasn't finished a session above since April. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,540.27) finished just a hair's breadth from its new high of 2,541.42, gaining 6.8 points, or 0.3%, by the close. Nevertheless, today marks the tech-rich index's best finish since May 2008.

The Fed's statement weighed on the dollar, which translated into gains for crude oil futures

Crude futures extended their run higher today, after the Department of Energy said gasoline and distillate stockpiles fell by a steeper-than-expected 2 million barrels and 3.6 million barrels, respectively, last week.
In addition, the Fed's latest policy statement weighed on the greenback, which translated into a late-session boost for the dollar-denominated commodity. By the close, crude oil for December delivery added 79 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $84.69 per barrel – a new six-month high.


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