Stocks Recover After Monday's Freefall
US stocks finished slightly higher on Tuesday, calming investors' nerves after Monday's tumultuous start to the year. Monday's decline, fueled by a crash in Chinese stocks, was the worst initial trading day of the year since 2008. Despite Tuesday's bounce back, analysts were still cautious about the coming days and weeks. Today's advance was partially driven by stellar news from the US auto industry, which set a new sales record in 2016 despite weaker-than-expected December sales. Overall, 1,812 stocks posted Tuesday gains on the New York Stock Exchange, while only 1,277 posted declines. Of the three major indices, the Nasdaq was the only one to lose ground in Tuesday's session, sliding 12 points, or 0.24 percent, to finish at 4,891. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 10 points, or 0.06 percent, to end the session at 17,159; while the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 4 points, 0.2 percent, to 2,017.
US Stocks Suffer Worst Month in Three Years
US stock markets fell slightly on Monday, wrapping up the worst month for US stock markets since 2012. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 6.6 percent in August, while the S&P fell 6.3 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slipped 6.9 percent during the month. The declines were driven by massive selloffs in recent days sparked by uncertainty about the Chinese economy. Investors have also been concerned that the Fed is getting ready to increase interest rates, which have been kept low since the onset of the recession.
Nasdaq Closes at Highest Level Ever
US stocks bounced back Wednesday, after a selloff the precious day, with the Nasdaq setting a new all-time closing mark. Just a day after slipping 1.1 percent, the tech-heavy index rose 1.5 percent on Wednesday to close at a record-setting 5,107, just 14 points ahead of the index's previous high close. Broadcom fueled the index's overall gain when its shares surged 22.5 percent after a report that the microchip maker was in talks to be acquired by rival Avago Technologies. Apple (up 2.44 percent) and Frontier Communications Corp (+7.3%) were also strong performers on the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones industrial average also closed higher, gaining 121 points to close at 18,163. The Dow's gains were fueled by an 18 percent surge in shares of United Health Technologies and a 17 percent jump in shares of Disney.
The Dow Jones approached an all-time high for the third time in two weeks Tuesday as the stock index finished the session at 4,118.7, a mere 179 points from the all-time high set on October 12th, 2007. On February 1st, the Dow finished the trading day at 14,110; and then reached 14,111 during the trading day last Friday. Like the Dow, the S&P 500 finished at a fresh five-year high Tuesday and is just 57 points below its highest level ever, also reached in October 2007. In just the first five weeks of 2013, the Dow and S&P 500 have gained close to 7 percent, while the Nasdaq is sitting on a rise just shy of 6 percent.
On October 19th, 1987, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 500 points, marking the single worst one day slide in the blue-chip index's history. On the 25th anniversary of that woeful day known ever since as Black Monday, the Dow slipped another 200 points. Friday's slide was only about 1.5 percent, compared to the 22 percent decline on Black Monday, but was still a painful reminder for equities traders that their portfolios can be slashed in value in a single day. Friday's losses, much like those from earlier this week, were fueled by a series of disappointing corporate earnings, led by weak economy safe haven McDonalds and powerhouse conglomerate General Electric.
US stocks rose sharply on Wednesday, led by the tech sector, as investors received a string of mostly positive corporate earnings reports and testimony delivered to Congress from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. While Bernanke's outlook on the economy was slightly downbeat, what investors took from it was that the likelihood of a third round of quantitative easing seems even more likely.
Stellar earnings from JP Morgan Chase drove the first rally of the week on Friday as the Dow posted its biggest gain since late June. All three major US indexes erased the week's declines on the day. JP Morgan's per share earnings of $1.21 smashed Wall Street expectations of 70 cents a share in earnings, overshadowing the bank's revelation that the massive trading loss first announced as $2 billion in May turned into $5.8 billion. Another factor in Friday's rally, economists noted, is that China's second-quarter growth rate decelerated sharply, but not as sharply as some had feared.
US stocks posted substantial losses on Friday, giving back all of their gains from earlier in the week, as investors reacted to a hugely disappointing reading on the US labor market. Early in Friday's session, the Labor Dept. reported that the economy gained just 80,000 jobs in June, well below economists expectations and a warning sign for the economy as a whole. In the holiday-shortened trading week, stock fell slightly on Monday and made gains on Tuesday and Thursday before giving them back on Friday.
US stocks were mixed Wednesday as all three indexes slumped late in the session after the Federal Reserve's decision to expand Operation Twist was poorly received by investors, who had hoped for a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3. Operation Twist, in which the Treasury swaps short-term notes on its balance sheet for longer-term bonds, was scheduled to expire June 30th, but will now continue through the end of the year. Investors had been hoping for a third round of Treasury purchases designed to stimulate borrowing by lowering interest rates.
US stocks posted encouraging gains on Friday as investors held out hope for the crucial elections being held in Greece this weekend and a possible third round of quantitative easing here in the US when the Fed meets next Tuesday. All three major indexes posted solid gains, both on Friday and for the week. It was also the second week in a row in which all three posted gains, with the Dow gaining 1.7 percent for the week, the S&P 500 rising 1.3 percent and the Nasdaq surging 0.5 percent.