There were lower-than-normal trading volumes across Wall Street this week due to Thanksgiving, but stocks pushed to record highs nonetheless. Many of the gains came on Tuesday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Nasdaq Composite (IXIC), and S&P 500 Index (SPX) all soared to record highs thanks to a strong round of corporate earnings. The Dow is now set to avoid a rare third-straight weekly loss, with the SPX and Nasdaq well on their way to weekly wins, as well.
Tech Sector Fuels Stock Market Surge
Big gains from tech stocks throughout the week were a major reason for the indexes success — resulting in unusual options trading for this exchange-traded fund (ETF). One of the biggest winners was cybersecurity specialist Palo Alto Networks (PANW), which jumped after earnings for a third straight quarter. Another top performer was semiconductor stock Marvell Technology (MRVL), after the company’s big M&A announcement. The strong gains from the stocks earned them bullish analyst attention.
MRVL wasn’t the only chip stock to make headlines. A newly announced stake from hedge fund Starboard meant a huge rise for Mellanox Technologies (MLNX), and Micron Stock continued to see heavy call trading. Other stocks in the tech space got a lift thanks to an extended rise from cryptocurrency bitcoin, including Square (SQ). The shares once again touched record highs, allowing bullish options traders to take profits. Going forward, this cloud stock could be another tech name to watch.
Retail Stocks Make Moves Before Black Friday
For the third week in a row retail stocks were front and center, thanks to Black Friday buzz and another round of earnings. Most notably, GameStop (GME) was the recipient of a scathing bear note, though the stock managed to jump after earnings. On the flip side, shares of Signet Jewelers (SIG) and DSW (DSW) got crushed after their quarterly results. Home improvement giant Lowe’s (LOW) also was in the earnings spotlight, while Wal-Mart stock got downgraded a week after its impressive quarterly update. Meanwhile, this non-Amazon e-commerce stock could be an option for bullish traders.
Telecom Sector, Deere Stock in Focus
Elsewhere, Dycom Industries (DY) managed to push higher despite an unusual earnings mishap, but its gains were nowhere close to those of this China-based stock. The telecom sector was in focus, too, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) contemplates the future of net neutrality rules. Plus, analysts weighed in on AT&T (T) and Time Warner (TWX) amid the companies’ merger mayhem.
Rounding out the earnings front, Deere & Company (DE) notched a record high thanks to an impressive earnings report, and analysts are betting on DE stock extending its run higher. As for other noteworthy options trading activity, call buyers remained committed to Electronic Arts (EA) despite backlash surrounding its Star Wars video game, while put traders have taken interest in Disney stock.
Fed Again Highlights Economic Docket
Going forward, investors’ attention should remain on the Fed, following the release of the central bank’s latest meeting minutes. Specifically, a number of regional Fed presidents will step up to the mic next week, not to mention outgoing Fed Chair Janet Yellen, and the Senate Banking Committee will hold its confirmation hearing for her successor. This all comes before an expected December rate hike. Still, if you’re not part of the recent mass exodus of stock bulls, make sure to check out our data on the best time to buy stocks after Black Friday.
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