The S&P 500 ($SPX) rose 3.07 points or 0.24%, and closed at 1,307.10. The top percentage gainers in the index were Estee Lauder (EL) (+14.13%) and Harmin Inds. (HAR) (+12.16%). Estee Lauder (EL) popped after the cosmetics maker reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits and raised its guidance for the remainder of the year, while Harmin (HAR) was also higher on strong earnings. Other top leaders in the S&P for the day were Autonation (AN) (+11.33%), Supervalu (SVU) (+10.45%), and Sears Holdings (SHLD) (+7.68%). The weakest percentage performer was Celgene Corp. (CELG) (-6.90%). Ameriprise Financial (AMP) (-6.87%), which fell short of analysts' earnings expectations, followed. CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) (-4.99%), Pulte Group (PHM) (-4.80%), and Avery Dennison (AVY) (-4.77%) were also top decliners.
Nasdaq Composite (Figure 3)
The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) ended the session higher by 4.32 points, or 0.16%, on Thursday and it closed at 2,753.88. The Nasdaq-100's top leaders were Sears Holdings (SHLD) (+7.68%), News Corp. (NWSA) (+6.07%), Ross Stores (ROST) (+5.80%), and Costco (COST) (+4.49%). The top decliners were Celgene Corp. (CELG) (-6.90%), NVIDIA (NVDA) (-1.91%), Gilead Science (GILD) (-1.85%), and NII Holdings (NIHD) (-1.79%).
Friday's focus in the markets will be the latest jobs data. January nonfarm payrolls, average workweek, hourly earnings, and the current unemployment rate will all be coming out ahead of the opening bell and will be a primary catalyst for the intraday direction the market takes into the weekend. Economists are expecting an increase of 148,000 jobs in January, but for the overall jobless rate to increase from 9.4% to 9.5%.
Unless otherwise stated, the index action described in this article relates to the E-mini futures contracts for the respective indices. Actual index action may differ slightly in terms of pattern formation, although the market bias will remain the same.
Toni Hansen is president and co-founder of the Bastiat Group Inc., DBA Trading From Main Street. Toni is one of the most respected technical analysts and traders in the industry. She has been trading and educating new traders, money managers, professional market analysts and traders throughout the boom and bust of the last decade. She has worked in conjunction with some of the world's top financial exchanges. Learn more about Toni Hansen and the educational services she provides through her website at http://www.tonihansen.com.