Nasdaq Composite (Figure 3)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) had a loss of 37.28 points, or 0.31%, and closed at 12,068.50 on Thursday. Twelve of the Dow's thirty index components posted a gain for the day. The top performer was General Electric (GE) (+1.73%). It was followed by gains in Boeing (BA) (+0.75%), Pfizer (PFE) (+0.75%), and Disney (DIS) (+0.69%). Hewlett Packard (HPQ) (-3.26%) once again topped the loser's list, but Travelers (TRV) (-1.80%), WalMart (WMT) (-1.77%), Procter & Gamble (PG) (-1.71%), and Bank of America (BAC) (-1.41%) were also big losers.
The S&P 500 ($SPX) fell 1.30 points, or 0.1%, and closed at 1,306.10. The strongest performers in the index were Priceline (PCLN) (+8.53%), Perkinelmer Inc. (PKI) (+6.90%), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) (+6.43%), and MetroPCS Communications (PCS) (+6.03%). The largest percentage losers were Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) (-7.36%), Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) (-5.54%), Tesoro Corp. (TSO) (-5.35%), and ETrade Financial Corp. (ETFC) (-4.80%).
The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) ended the session higher by 14.91 points, or 0.55%, on Thursday and it closed at 2,737.90. NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD) (+7.67%), Ctrip (CTRP) (+4.64%), and First Solar (FSLR) (+4.53%) followed Priceline (PCLN) (+4.53%) as the Nasdaq-100's gainers. The top losers were Sears Holdings (SHLD) (-5.54%), Mylan Inc. (MYL) (-1.47%), Yahoo (YHOO) (-1.27%), and Vodaphone Group (VOD) (-1.23%).
Despite the technical reasons behind Thursday's price action in the markets, news headlines also continue to make waves. They have been particularly focused upon the unrest in the Middle East, hence influencing commodity prices on goods such as oil, silver, and gold.
In other news, initial unemployment claims fell 22,000 last week to 391,000. The four-week moving average for claims fell to 402,000, which is the lowest it has been in about two and a half years.
Orders for durable goods jumped in January by 2.7%, but this number was in line with expectations.
New homes sales, however, were dismal. The Commerce Department reported that new-home sales on homes in the U.S. fell substantially to a seasonally adjusted rate of 284,000 homes last month. Last year was the worst in nearly half a century and Thursday's data was another blow to the housing sector.
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.