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MARKET COMMENTARY - Monday, March 10, 2014
For the week, the Dow advanced +0.8%, the S&P 500 gained +0.9% and the NASDAQ rose +0.6%. Friday the major averages ended mixed on the session. The volume totals were reported slightly higher on the NYSE and on the Nasdaq exchange. Decliners led advancers by a 3-2 margin on the NYSE and by a very narrow margin Nasdaq exchange. There were 69 high-ranked companies from the CANSLIM.net Leaders List that made new 52-week highs and appeared on the CANSLIM.net BreakOuts Page, down from the total of 85 stocks on the prior session. The list of stocks hitting new 52-week highs contracted yet still easily outnumbered new 52-week lows on the Nasdaq exchange and on the NYSE, and new 52-week lows were in the single digits on both major exchanges again. There were gains for 4 of the 12 high-ranked companies currently included on the Featured Stocks Page. The Market (M criteria) environment has been noted as a "Confirmed Uptrend". For any rally to be sustained it is critical for there to be healthy leadership, so it remains crucial for many stocks to continue hitting new 52-week highs.
Stocks toggled between gains and losses throughout Friday's session as lingering tensions between Russia and the Ukraine kept investors sidelined. The latest employment data was largely positive. Specifically, non-farm payrolls grew by 175,000 in February, more than the anticipated gain of 150,000 jobs. Despite the gain, the unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked higher to 6.7%.
Corporate earnings were also a factor in the session. Shares of Foot Locker (FL +8.8%) rose after the company exceeded analysts' estimates in the quarter. Big Lots (LOTS +23%) also ended higher, rallying following their results. On the downside, Fresh Market (TFM -2.5%) fell after posting a weaker-than-anticipated earnings report.
Turning o fixed income markets, Treasuries ended lower along the curve. The benchmark 10-year note was down 7/16 of a point to yield 2.79% and the 30-year bond was lower by 9/16 of a point to yield 3.73%.
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PICTURED: The Nasdaq Composite Index is perched near its 2014 high.
The Broker/Dealer Index ($XBD +0.44%) and Bank Index ($BKX +0.93%) both posted gains and were a positive influence on the major averages. The Gold & Silver Index ($XAU -2.43%) fell hard as it gave back part of the considerable +22.58% gain it had tallied thus far in 2014. The Networking Index ($NWX -0.49%) posted a modest loss and the Semiconductor Index ($SOX -0.11%) edged lower while the Biotechnology Index ($BTK +0.20%) and the Retail Index ($RLX +0.25%) posted small gains. Energy-related shares were directionless with the Oil Services Index ($OSX +0.01%) and the Integrated Oil Index ($XOI +0.14%) little changed.
Charts courtesy www.stockcharts.com
PICTURED: The Bank Index ($BKX +0.93%) touched a new 2014 high. Healthy action in financial stocks is encourgaing news which bodes well for the broader market outlook. Rarely do the major averages suffer bad downdrafts while financial stocks are acting strong.