Thursday, January 21, 2010

19/01: Markets rally off support levels, led by healthcare

Tuesday's market action was buoyant, on the one hand articulating the customary knee-jerk reaction that a touch of significant support typically catalyzes, and on the other hand pricing-in ever-increasing odds of a Republican victory in the ostensibly parochial Massachusetts race for a U.S. Senate seat (but, in reality, a highly significant, national litmus test on the durability of the agenda of the Democratic party's liberal wing). A national lurch rightward would, of course, change expectations about the expected degree of heathcare reform, and more of the status quo shall (obviously) benefit the incumbent firms.

The Republican, Scott Brown, won emphatically. (This is a little voice from the future.)

In summary, the S&P500 advanced 1.3 percent to close at 1150, a post-Lehman closing high, while the DJIA recorded a triple-digit gain of 1.1 percent and the technology-weighted NASDAQ notched a relative out-performance, appreciating 1.4 percent.

Among notable price action -- and forgive me, reader, for the lack of colour, one caused by the increased irrelevance of such details due to the elapsed time since long-gone 19/01 --, Google (GOOG) saw gains as the markets continued to digest last week's bombshell news of the firm's possibly pulling out of the Chinese market; the financial sector SPDR (XLF) regained momentum in anticipation of the mid-week earnings report from sector bellwether Goldman Sachs (GS); and Apple (AAPL) exploded to a fresh 52-week closing high on fresh (and feverish) speculation about the forthcoming iSlate. Humana (HUM), the leading S&P500 heathcare-sector stock in Tuesday's trade, leapt 7.1 percent.

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