Dow jumps 124 as Wall Street rings in the holidays

Stocks end higher for the third week in the last four. The S&P 500 pushes into the black for 2011. A big report on durable-goods orders offsets weaker-than-expected reports on spending and new-home sales. Gold slips.

By Charley Blaine Dec 23, 2011 2:40PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 11:53 p.m. ET

The stock market delivered a blast of holiday cheer today as the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) surged more than 120 points, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) pushed into the black for the first time since Dec. 7.

After four days of gains, the market ended higher for the third week in the last four. Volume was quite light, typical of the last trading day before Christmas. New York Stock Exchange volume was less than 500 million shares. Markets will be closed on Monday.

Economic news fueled the rally. Orders for durable goods jumped in November by the most in four months, the government said. That offset weaker-than-forecast consumer spending. New-home sales rose in November to a seven-month high -- although still near record lows. Congress passed a two-month payroll tax cut extension a day after House Republicans surrendered on whether to endorse the measure days before its Dec. 31 expiration.

Crude oil (-CL) moved up slightly. Gold (-GC)was slightly lower. European stocks were higher.

The Dow closed up 124 points to 12,294. The S&P 500 added 11 points to 1,265, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was up 19 points to 2,619. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), which tracks the largest Nasdaq stocks, rose 21 points to 2,288.

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The rally was broad with all 10 sectors of the S&P 500 showing gains, led by consumer discretionary stocks, such as appliance-maker Whirlpool (WHR), up 63 cents to $51.19. Whirlpool was up 9.8% on the week and is 4.3% higher for December.

In addition, technology shares were higher, thanks in part to a big gain for Rambus (RMBS), up 89 cents to $8.21. The designer of high-speed memory chips settled patent disputes with Broadcom (BRCM) and signed a five-year licensing agreement. Broadcom was off 1 cent to $29.77.

In addition, gains for Apple (AAPL), Intel (INTC), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Oracle (ORCL) and Microsoft (MSFT) contributed nearly 9 points to the Nasdaq-100's gain. (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)

Retailers were generally higher as shoppers looked for last-minute Christmas gifts and supplies. Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) rose 80 cents to $59.99. Macy's (M) added 33 cents to $33.20. The Standard & Poor's Retail Index ($RLX) added 3 points to 529. The index rose 1.7% for the week but is little changed in December.

Twenty-eight Dow stocks and some 390 S&P 500 stocks were higher. In addition, 77 Nasdaq-100 stocks were higher.

Bank of America (BAC), up 13 cents to $5.60, was the biggest percentage gainer among Dow stocks. The bank's shares rose 7.7% on the week.

A good week for investors
The Dow gained 3.6% for the week, with the S&P 500 up 3.7% and the Nasdaq up 2.5%.

The blue chips are up 2.1% for December, with the S&P 500 up 1.5% and the Nasdaq basically flat. For the year, the Dow is up 6.2%. The S&P 500 is higher by 0.6%, with the Nasdaq down 1.3%.

Disappointed investors will likely note this: The market peaked for the year on April 29. The Dow is still down 4% from that high. The S&P 500 is off 7.2%, with the Nasdaq down 8.9%.

But things could be worse. At the market's close on Oct. 3, the Dow was off 16.8% from its high, with the S&P 500 down 19.4% and the Nasdaq down 18.7%. Since then, the indexes are up 18.2%, 17.7% and 13.4%, respectively.

Trading volume in the week ahead is likely to be light. There are few earnings that can move markets.

Economic reports include the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for October, the Conference Board's December Consumer Confidence report, the National Association of Realtors' pending-home-sales report and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index report for December.

Markets for the week



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Crude moves up; warm-weather forecast hits natural gas
Crude settled up 15 cents to $99.68 a barrel, after peaking at $100.23. Gold settled up $4.60 to $1,606 an ounce. Silver (-SI) finished up 3.7 cents to $29.084 an ounce. Copper (-HG) was trading at $3.4655 a pound, up 3.7 cents.

Natural gas (-NG) futures fell nearly to lows last seen in the fall of 2007, The Wall Street Journal noted, on forecasts that winter temperatures would be much higher than normal in the United States. Gas, which already has been dealing with a supply glut, settled at $3.114 per million British thermal units, down 5.5 cents on the day. For the month, gas is off 14.6% and 28.9% on the year.

Energy shares were mostly higher. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) exchange-traded fund was up 40 cents to $69.60. Even natural-gas producers were higher. Chesapeake Energy (CHK) added 21 cents to $23.73.

Nike's Air Jordan Retros draw crowdsand then some
Nike (NKE) shares closed up $2.08 to $96.90. Partly that's because of a strong earnings report this week and optimistic guidance.

But Nike also benefited from the arrival of its new Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords, which created massive lines in stores across the country.

The release caused incidents of violence over the iconic sneakers, priced at $180.

Police were called to a suburban Seattle mall to control a crowd of 2,000. People got so out of hand police used pepper spray in some instances in an attempt to get things under control, The Seattle Times said.

Energy prices -- New York close



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Boeing fuels durable-goods increase
Durable-goods orders rose as an increase in demand for aircraft outweighed declines in spending on computers and equipment.

This was expected. Boeing reported very few new-aircraft orders, but it had a big November. Demand for business equipment excluding military hardware and aircraft dropped 1.2% in November, the biggest decline since January.  The decrease suggests manufacturers may be growing hesitant to boost investment because of political gridlock in the United States and Europe’s debt crisis.

Consumer spending rose less than forecast in November as wages declined, the Commerce Department said. Purchases rose 0.1% for the second month. Incomes also grew 0.1%, the weakest in three months, after a 0.4% gain in October. The November gain in income was limited by a 0.1% drop in wages and salaries.

Purchases of single-family properties (which include attached townhouses) increased 1.6% to a 315,000-unit annual rate, the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The gain pushed the number of new homes on the market to a record low.

New-home sales for the year are still down are down 6.1% from a year ago, with declines largest in the Northeast.

Homebuilding shares were mostly lower.

A tough week for Mead Johnson Nutrition
Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) was off $3.47 to $65.29. The stock fell 14.6% in two days after Wal-Mart pulled a specific batch of Enfamil formula on Thursday following an infant's death.

Initial news reports called Wal-Mart’s action a "product recall." It isn't, Jim Jubak says. "It's a voluntary decision by Wal-Mart to take the product off its shelves." It's not even certain there's a link between the infant's formula and the death.

Current share weakness likely is an overreaction, CLSA Capital Partners says.

But drug chain Walgreen (WAG) and supermarket operator Kroger (KR) pulled Enfamil from their shelves as regulators tested the product to see if it caused the baby's death.

Winners and losers
Google (GOOG) shares were up $3.44 to $633.14. The University of California-Berkeley is replacing a legacy e-mail system with Gmail, which beat out Microsoft's Office 365. Among the university's list of reasons for picking Gmail: fast deployment, inexpensive support services and widespread developer support. Microsoft was up 22 cents to $26.03.

Shutterfly (SFLY) shares fell $1.14 to $23.96. The photo sharing website cut its fourth-quarter revenue guidance. The company expects revenue of $259 million to $264 million; it previously forecast revenue of $270.5 million to $275.5 million. Analysts had been expecting revenue of $267.8 million. 

Netflix (NFLX) shares fell $1.22 to $72.62. Its big blunders in 2011 look to have cost CEO Reed Hastings a chunk of change in 2012. Government filings show Hastings will receive an annual salary of $500,000 on top of stock option allowance of $1.5 million in the coming year. In 2011, Hastings was to earn $500,000 and receive an annual stock option allowance of $3 million.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



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Dec 23, 2011 4:29PM
Well here in Seattle we have riots.  (Over $180.00 sneakers)   Funny thing is I doubt many of the rioters have jobs.  You will see them wearing these sneakers and talking on their new cell phones at the welfare office, You will see them at the food banks at the unemployment office.  Ever notice?
Dec 23, 2011 3:47PM
I long for the days when the cost of coffee ruled the news headlines.Wink
Dec 23, 2011 5:33PM
As oil prices at the pump are lowered (manipulated downward) just in time for the Christmas buying season only to see it back up over 100.00 a barrel after the New Year. Look for record gift returns in the next 3 weeks.....and many Car Dealer offering 0% interest for 72 months offers to increase from the BIG three as the EURO ZONE car sales implode setting off a BIG Three Q 1 and Q 2 Huge losses.....The can continues to be kicked for two more months in the US and we keep getting more in debt by 1 billion in principle borrowing alone never mind the huge interest on that. Fannie Mae interest rate cannot get any lower but the borrowing and refinancing has dried up totally......Jumbo loans had dried up totally....Commercia​l lending has dried up totally but yet the media isn't say a thing about that...Watch for more market disconnects as inverters have very few places to put their money....It is like watching in slow motion a stampede of buffalo's going over the cliff.....WHAT A HUGE MISTAKE......GET OUT OF THE MARKET BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE..!!!!
Dec 23, 2011 4:42PM

European TARP and back door stimulus may have quieted the euro zone for the time being .. and Congress passage of the annual budget and payroll tax holiday with extended unemployment benefits (meaning Congress isn't totally dysfunctional) .. both make for a little Christmas cheer.


But to get the Great Recession into the past tense for Main Street, it is going to have to include the creation of JOBS, to (1) get unemployment down to a manageable number, and (2) with payrolls that provides a living wage for the middle class.  

Dec 23, 2011 3:43PM
Looks to me like business as usual. The Dow is going to be up about 6%, and my portfolio will be down about 6%. I gave up trying to figure the market out.Everytime I get capital gains or dividends added to my shares the market drops big time and I get nothing. I'm just going long and hoping for something down the road.
Dec 23, 2011 3:17PM

“May you live in interesting times.”  Meaning (per Phrase Finder website)  “May you experience much disorder and trouble in your life.”  Origin:  While purporting to be a blessing, this is in fact a curse. The expression is always used ironically, with the clear implication that 'uninteresting times', of peace and tranquillity, are more life-enhancing than interesting ones.


I think we are living in very interesting times

Dec 23, 2011 2:59PM
Wages  down. I guess it might be time to face it, those credit cards are beginning to get a little too heavy to carry any longer. 
Dec 23, 2011 5:33PM
tried to add comment they told me they won't post it.  no cussing just the truth so will sum it up to the  banks stock market  and government got us in debt to our  ears  and the government will or has not cut back on  government  workers  in  washington  big  business cut white collar  workers  and and showing  profit  everyday ????  why not try cutting back on the  government work  force and  cars  expenders and food  and   gas   let them pick up some there own  expenses they can write of  at the end of the  year  like we all do
Dec 23, 2011 3:34PM
Let a couple of negative headlines come out of Europe and we'll see how strong this Santa rally is.   My guess is that it will fold like a cheap lawn chair.   I'm  buying some small bear ETF positions at the end of the day.
Dec 23, 2011 5:20PM

No, I've never noticed.  But then, I've never even seen a welfare office..  What were you doing there?


Well here in Seattle we have riots.  (Over $180.00 sneakers)   Funny thing is I doubt many of the rioters have jobs.  You will see them wearing these sneakers and talking on their new cell phones at the welfare office, You will see them at the food banks at the unemployment office.  Ever notice?
Dec 23, 2011 5:38PM
When the Gov't has no money they will come after your money. That's why they're putting all these cameras everywhere so they can see where you are hiding it. There is no escape, did you ever see that old 60's TV show The Prisoner, that will be America soon.Dog face
Dec 23, 2011 3:09PM
This is a terrible report.  Durable goods increase was all military.  Yet the spin is Boeing fuels durable goods increase.  
Dec 23, 2011 6:18PM
Nobody deserves death simply for their beliefs.

They could stand to come to their senses, though...
Dec 23, 2011 8:09PM
we are not "robbing from SS."   virtually all tax revenue collected is spent on the federal budget spending and not put away for SS.

Hot Active, you're accounting is wrong. The SS taxes collected for each taxpayer are credited to each taxpayers SS account and debited to the SS Trust Fund.  You can request a statement from the SSA of your account. The Federal Government may borrow the SS Trust Funds, as they do often to fund Christian Wars and Socialist Welfare programs, but as the SS pays the benefits to each recipient it is law that it has to request that the US Treasury issue bonds to repay the borrowed SS Trust Funds.  Lowering the SS taxes credited to each taxpayers account will lower their calculated benefits which are based on thier contributed taxes. Spending money now that would contribute to your retirement is not a solution to the Government spending money that they don't have the right to spend; SSA Trust Fund.  You're making an illogical argument against your often stated solution of cutting spending and raising taxes.

Dec 23, 2011 3:48PM
Stocks in holiday mood, "bull crap" more like PPT mood.
Dec 23, 2011 2:55PM

what does this mean?  good news or bad news? 


The gain pushed the number of new homes on the market to a record low.

Dec 23, 2011 5:34PM

Thursday's decision by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to cave in to the Senate came after days of criticism from Obama and Democrats. But perhaps more tellingly, GOP stalwarts including strategist Karl Rove and the Wall Street Journal editorial board warned that if the tax cuts were allowed to expire, Republicans would take a political beating that would harm efforts to unseat Obama next year.

House GOP arguments about the legislative process and what the "uncertainty" of a two-month extension would mean for businesses were unpersuasive, and Obama took the offensive.

Friday's House and Senate sessions were remarkable. Both chambers had essentially recessed for the holidays but leaders in both parties orchestrated passage of the short-term agreement under debate rules that would allow any individual member of Congress to derail the pact, at least for a time. None did.

The developments were a clear win for Obama. The payroll tax cut was the centerpiece of his three-month, campaign-style drive for jobs legislation that seems to have contributed to an uptick in his poll numbers — and taken a toll on those of congressional Republicans.


What happened Tea Partiers? LMAO

Dec 23, 2011 11:39PM
Anyone have any idea how much tax payers money Obama has spent on vacations, holiday travels, golf, BBall, etc. etc. etc.
Smile I wouldn't worry about that little bit of money. He's going to raise over $1 billion for his 2012 election campaign. He raised $760 million in 2008. The total 2012 election costs are estimated to be $8 billion. All of those guys are marketed to the US citizens with lots of advertising and computerized schemes.
Dec 23, 2011 8:42PM
                         The wall street elite:    You people deserve to be unemployed and living on the streets, You never should of been baled out you were trained to do that job and they say people with no experience can do a better job. I hope your wives and children have to go thought that but you idiots working there deserve it or worse.
Dec 25, 2011 12:51PM

I shouldn't even be on here today.....Still recouping from the mad-house we had here last night.

And in 3-4 hours we all have to gather at my sis' place for dinner.

Okay here's a little common sense for the both of you........Nerd using K.I.S.S.


"Economics, is basically Voodoo Accounting."

And that's all I have to say about that.....have a nice Christmas day.  Hot

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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More


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