Dow Gains Ground While Retail and Energy Sectors Rise

After a slow start and a somewhat rocky afternoon, the Dow closed up 196.09 points for a gain of 1.14% to finish at 17,361.04. The NASDAQ gained 41.45 points and closed out at 4,676.69, while the S&P 500 put on 25.86 points and ended the day at 2,020.85. Overseas markets were mixed, with -0.66% losses in Tokyo's Nikkei, 1.26% gains for Germany's DAX, and a relatively flat day in Hong Kong that saw -0.09% losses in the Hang Seng.

A Retail Roller Coaster Retail swung up and down today, with large early losses offset by the late gains which were widespread throughout the sector.

Wal-Mart (WMT) was emblematic of the trend, with a late rally that saw its shares rise 0.86% to 85.71. Target (TGT) finished the day up 0.87% to close at 74.25 after morning lows of 72.00. Amazon (AMZN) continued to pile on profits after a stellar earnings report, up 9.94 points today, or 2.80%, to close at 364.47. That represents a 5-day rise for the online retailer of 17.70%.

Energy Companies Rebound Light crude rose today, and American energy producers saw a bit of a rebound in their share prices. Profits were helped along with a small reduction in supply and fears of gas shortages due to a worker strike. Denbury Resources (DNR) was up 12.32% to 7.75 per share, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (DO) added 4.22% to close at 32.86, Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) gained 6.99% to close at 20.52, and Helmerich & Payne Inc (HP) recovered 6.95% to close at 63.70 per share.

Cheaper Microsoft Tablets Raise Share Prices After Apple's (AAPL) big earnings announcement last week, and the subsequent jump in share price, Microsoft (MSFT) was in danger of being left in the dust. However, the Seattle-based software giant announced price drops on its line of Surface tablets today and gained 0.88 points on the news, finishing the day up 2.18% to 41.28.

Tech Manufacturing Is Mixed After a poor showing last week for Qualcomm (QCOM), the manufacturer rebounded 4.92% today and finished at 65.53 per share, although the company is still down nearly -10% over the past 5 days. Fellow chip maker Broadcom (BRCM), which is a leading producer of wifi technologies, finished down -0.80 and ended the day at 41.64. In contrast, ARM Holdings (ARMH), the company who provides Apple (AAPL) with the technology it needs to make iPhones and iPads, was up 1.05% to close at 47.33.

Currency and Commodities The big news in commodities today was a small rebound in the price of light crude, although the recovery never broke $50 per barrel. Oil futures climbed 3.19% to finish the day at $49.78. Heating oil and natural gas dipped slightly, agriculture was flat, and gold and silver dropped a fraction of a point while platinum and copper were up slightly. The Canadian Dollar, Mexican Peso, Chinese Yuan, and Euro all strengthened slightly relative to the dollar, while Japan's Yen fell -0.71%.

Published on Feb 2, 2015
By Aaron Phillips
Aaron Phillips is a financial researcher and journalist based out of Michigan. He regularly writes the IG Daily and IG Weekly columns.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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