Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tech Drives Stocks Higher

While Tuesday's rally may have been all about perception over reality, Wednesday's massive move had everything to do with tech stocks.

Led by volume leaders Microsoft (MSFT), Cisco (CSCO) and Applied Materials (AMAT), the NASDAQ outperformed the other indices by a wide margin. The NASDAQ was up 2.32% at the close, followed by the Dow (+1.45%) and the S&P (+1.36). The broad-based NYSE Composite gained 1.21%.

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Stocks across the board were aided by consumer spending figures for January which were up 0.3% after losing ground in December, and while the gain is a plus, it's significance is minimal in the overall economic picture.

So too the current rally, which has put this week in stark contrast to the dismal performance of the prior one. Stocks bumped up against formidable resistance in the Dow 12,550 area and backed off going into the close.

Dow 12,552.24 +178.83; NASDAQ 2,373.93 +53.89; S&P 500 1,367.21 +18.35; NYSE Composite 9,073.48 +108.13

All of this sets up an interesting couple of days to close out the week. On Thursday, the only important economic news will be new unemployment claims, which will be released at 8:30 am. Friday, investors will be mulling over capacity utilization figures, net imports and exports, the NY Empire State Index and the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment reading.

Thursday could go either way, though breaking through the congestion and resistance could prove difficult. If stocks manage gains, the next level to overcome is in the 12,740 range, at the closing high of Feb 1st.

Advancing issues pounded decliners, 4419-1926, though new lows persisted in their long-standing (back to Oct. 31, 2007) advantage over new highs, 176-85. Expect that gap to decline if stocks stage another strong effort.

Oil gained 49 cents to $93.27 per barrel. Gold and silver were down and up marginally, respectively.

NYSE Volume 3,728,637,500
NASDAQ Volume 2,246,132,000

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