Day Traders Diary
U.S. stocks started slightly higher Monday, recovering from the prior session's losses, as some pressure came off European debt markets and investors traded cautiously ahead of fourth-quarter earnings reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 11 points to 12,371, led by a 1.3% gain in Alcoa ahead of earnings tonight. The S&P 500 opened flat at 1,277. The Nasdaq Composite rose 4 points to 2,678. The news out of Europe is not getting any better, but so far our averages are holding in there. The analysts are in a good mood this morning with plenty of upgrades. In the tech space the chips look good thanks to plenty of upgrades. Broadcom is up 3%, Fairchild Semi is up 4%, while Intel is up a percent. Arm Holding was downgraded, but the stock is higher. Apple is up a percent to a new 52 week high on an upgrade from Goldman Sachs. Google is one of the few techs under pressure following disappointing earnings from their acquirer, Motorola Mobility. Speaking of Goldman Sachs, the financials are showing a little life once again. FBR made positive comments on the sector. The multi-national banks are all up over a percent. The insurance stocks are also performing well. Travelers, Metllife, and Hartford are higher on upgrades. Aflac is down 2% on a downgrade. The energy and material sector are performing well this morning. Monsanto is up 2% on an upgrade. The consumer discretionary and healthcare sectors are under pressure this morning. Bristol Myers is down a percent after announcing a $2.5 billion acquisition. Merck is lower on a downgrade. Highflyer, MAKO Surgical is surging 8% on positive sales guidance. Through the first hour the averages improved only to settle back down around the unchanged level. Through the morning the averages moved sideways. A quiet start to the New Year. In the afternoon the averages limped along modestly in the green, improving a little bit in the last hour. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 32 points at 12,392, led by a 2.9% rise in Alcoa. The S&P 500 finished up 2 points at 1,280. The Nasdaq Composite added 2 points to 2,676.
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