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Dow starts week with record high as 'Obama Stock Market Rally' approaches 17,000

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If futures trading this morning are any indication, the "Obama Stock Market Rally," will take a breather, reports Bloomberg. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped last Friday 88.17 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16.924.28, up 1.2 percent from the week-ago close. The Dow was joined by the S&P 500, which gained 1.3 percent on the week, the S&P 500 also hit an all-time high of 1,949.44, up 0.5 percent, at 1,949.44, with energy and industrials the best performing and utilities and health care among the biggest laggards of its 10 major sectors.

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The Dow is edging closer to hitting another milestone as it approaches 17,000. JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade, thinks the S&P 500 will hit a significant milestone too.

"Psychologically, the next area is going to be 1,950, that the next level to push through. Then we want to look all the way up to 1,962. You're in unprecedented territory, which also makes the numbers a little fuzzier. We haven't traded there before, so we don't have resistance," said Kinahan.

As equities rose to records, the CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, fell to multi-year lows.

The Nasdaq gained 25.17 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,321.40, rising 1.9 percent on the week.

This is a continuation of the "Obama Stock Market," as the Dow and the S&P 500 have continued on its meteoric rise. On President Obama's first inauguration day on Jan. 20, 2009, the DJIA was sitting at 7,949.09. It then bottomed on March 9, 2009 at 6,547.05, which at the time was its lowest level since 1997.

One analyst sees it differently. "There’s really no positive reason for buying equities; there’s just the lack of a negative reason," said Michael Ingram, a market strategist at BGC Brokers LP in London. "Because zero-interest-rate policy has gone global, equities are the least-worst option among asset classes right now."

In today's trading, some of the items and highlights to watch:

  • Meat producer Tyson Foods Inc. winning a bidding war for Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs, with a $63 per share offer. The offer from Tyson is worth $7.75 billion based on Hillshire’s 123 million shares outstanding. Tyson values the deal at $8.55 billion, including debt.
  • Amazon will break into the online payments market today by launching its new role of managing subscription payments - starting with start-ups and other companies. The service will allow more than 240M users to use credit card details stored on Amazon.com to pay for services such as a monthly phone bill or a digital music subscription. PayPal (EBAY) is set to feel incoming pressure, as Amazon (AMZN) encroaches on the sector it has long dominated.
  • Apple (AAPL), which closed Friday at $645.57, will split its stock 7-for-1 today, estimated at $92 per share. Apple remains the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization. But Monday will the first day Apple trades after its seven-for-one stock split. Apple will also have a $30 billion increase to its share buyback plan and a bigger dividend.

Sources:

CNBC - Strong Dow, S&P gains end week at records

Bloomberg - U.S. Stock Futures Decline After S&P 500 Reaches Record

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