Equities higher on low volume

The S&P 500 ($SPX) rose 7.40 points, or 0.60%, and closed at 1,240.40 at a new 2-year high. All of the index's 10 industry sectors managed a gain. Tenet Healthcare (THC) was by far the best performer in the index. It rose 55.01%. Trailing it were gains in Pall Corp. (PLL) (+4.12%), Sandisk (SNDK) (+4.11%), and First Solar (FSLR) (+3.74%). The weakest performers in the index were National Semiconductor (NSM) (-7.75%), Eastman Kodak (EK) (-3.58%), and Texas Instruments (TXN) (-2.79%). The index ended the week higher by 1.28%.

The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) ended the session higher by 20.87 points, or 0.80%, on Friday and it closed at 2,637.54 at a new 3-year high. Sandisk Corp. (SNDK) (+4.11%) was the strongest performer in the Nasdaq-100, followed by First Solar (FSLR) (+3.74%), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) (+2.89%), and Apollo Group (APOL) (+2.76%). The weakest were Urban Outfitters (URBN) (-1.14%), Altera Corp. (ALTR) (-0.99%), and Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) (-0.96%). The Nasdaq Comp. ended the week higher by 1.78%.

S&P 500

On Friday the U.S. government reported that the trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly in October to $38.7 billion. It had been $44.6 billion in September and it was expected to fall to $43.6 billion. Exports rose 3.2%, while imports were down slightly. Consumer sentiment also came in better-than-expected. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Survey of Consumers' preliminary consumer sentiment index rose from 71.6 to 74.2 this month. The overall market reaction to the news has been positive and the buzz is starting to pick up that the economy may actually be starting to show some real improvements.

The indices traded in a narrow range over the weekend. This began to break higher in premarket trade, triggering a rally that mimicked the one from Friday's session. This leaves the indices extended intraday heading into Monday's opening bell.

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