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MARKET COMMENTARY - Friday, March 06, 2015
Stocks quietly finished Thursday higher. The S&P 500 advanced 2 points to 2,101. The NASDAQ gained 15 points to 4,982. The volume totals for the session were lower than the prior session total on the NYSE and on the Nasdaq exchange. Advancers led decliners by an 8-7 margin on the NYSE and 4-3 on the Nasdaq exchange. Leadership improved as there were 37 high-ranked companies from the CANSLIM.net Leaders List that made new 52-week highs and appeared on the CANSLIM.net BreakOuts Page, up from the prior session total of 30 stocks. The total number of new 52-week highs outnumbered new 52-week lows on the NYSE and on the Nasdaq exchange. There were gains for 9 of the 14 high-ranked companies currently on the Featured Stocks Page.
Concerning the M criteria, ongoing gains for the major averages have established a confirmed uptrend with a healthy crop of stocks hitting new highs. New buying efforts should only be made in stocks meeting all of the fundamental and technical guidelines the fact-based investment system.
PICTURED: The Dow climbed 38 points to 18,135.
The major averages reversed course to finish marginally higher ahead of Friday's important non-farm payrolls report. Foreshadowing the report, the number of unemployment claims last week rose to 320,000, the highest level in nine months. Additionally, January's measure of factory orders unexpectedly declined -0.2%.
At the close, six of the 10 S&P 500 sectors finished higher. Bank of America (BAC +1%) and financials were a notable outperformer as the DFAST reports come out after the close. Health care also showed strength as M&A activity helped lift Mallinckrodt (MNK +4.7%). Energy was the worst performing group. Exxon Mobil (XOM -0.5%) edged lower on WTI price declines.Treasuries were little changed ahead of the pending labor report. The benchmark 10-year note climbed 1/32 to yield 2.11%. However, the long bond fell 4/32 to yield 2.73%.
Commodities finished mixed. WTI crude lost -1.2% to $50.94/brl, but cold weather helped lift natural gas +2.6% to $2.84/MMBtu. Meanwhile, gold lost -0.3% to $1,197.90/ounce. In FOREX the dollar gained 0.5% as the euro lost 0.5% to $1.1025/EUR and the yen fell 0.4% to ¥120.15/USD.
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The Gold & Silver Index ($XAU -0.22%) edged lower and the Integrated Oil Index ($XOI -0.89%) fell while the Oil Services Index ($OSX -0.05%) finished flat. The Retail Index ($RLX +0.52%) posted a modest gain and financials were also a positive influence on the major averages as the Broker/Dealer Index ($XBD +0.73%) and the Bank Index ($BKX +0.37%) both rose. The Biotechnology Index ($BTK +2.28%) led the tech sector higher while the Semiconductor Index ($SOX +0.10%) eked out a small gain and the Networking Index ($NWX +0.03%) finished flat.
Charts courtesy www.stockcharts.com
PICTURED: The Retail Index ($RLX +0.52%) posted a small gain and it is perched near its all-time high.