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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WALL STREET >>> Spotlight On Feds Announcement, Mid Term Elections

Stocks Settle at Six-Month Highs; Elections Theme
The NASDAQ notched its highest 2 years daily close
The market seems to have high hopes for the outcome of this week's key events, as stocks shot higher right out of the gate this morning. Traders are focusing on today's midterm elections -- which are generally expected to result in more than a few GOP victories -- as well as tomorrow's regularly scheduled decision on U.S. monetary policy from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). (And, lest anyone forget, Friday will bring us the Labor Department's monthly report on nonfarm payrolls.)

However, after an early bounce into the black, stocks spent the rest of the session hovering in a tight sideways pattern as traders tried to rein in their expectations. The one exception was the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite, which stubbornly extended its gains right into the final hour of the session. A minor wave of merger-and-acquisition news likely contributed to the COMP's outperformance, with tech titans Dell (DELL) and Oracle (ORCL) each announcing new buyout deals today.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,188.72) ended the day on a respectable gain of 64.10 points, or 0.58%, as 23 of its 30 components closed higher. Home Depot (HD) and American Express (AXP) earned the day's biggest blue chip gains, while JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Intel (INTC) paced the seven decliners. Today marks the Dow's highest daily finish since April 26, though the index continues to find pressure in the 11,250 region.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,193.57) followed suit by adding 9.19 points, or 0.78%, to notch its best daily close since May 3. However, the SPX is staring up at potential pressure in the 1,200 region, which is home to its 80-month moving average. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,533.52) tacked on 28.68 points, or 1.14%, to close at its highest price since June 5, 2008. However, the COMP fell just shy of challenging its current annual high of 2,535.30, which was set on April 2006.

FOMC Meeting Stifle The Greenback;
Black Gold Capitalizes
Crude futures settled at a six-month high today, as black gold capitalized on weakness in the U.S. dollar. The greenback took a drubbing ahead of tomorrow's FOMC announcement, which made the dollar-denominated commodity that much more attractive to investors holding foreign currencies.

Additionally, oil traders seemed encouraged after a few members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) voiced their support for prices in the $70 to $90 range. By the close, crude oil for December delivery added 95 cents, or 1.2%, to finish at $83.90 per barrel -- its best price since May 3.

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