Bulls In Charge As Indexes Head Higher; Small Caps, Oil Names Lead – Investor's Business Daily

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Major stock indexes ended with solid gains Thursday as the 2018 stock market rally showed no signs of letting up. The Russell 2000 small-cap index was the star of the day, rising around 1.7%.

X Bitcoin was volatile again, giving up the 14,000 level, after published reports said South Korea is taking steps to ban trading of the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) ended at 1,700, down 13%. Bitcoin, itself, was recently trading around 13,500 around 4 p.m. ET.

The Nasdaq composite and Dow Jones industrial average ended with gains of 0.8%, while the S&P 500 added 0.7%. Preliminary data showed volume on the NYSE and Nasdaq coming in close to Wednesday’s levels.

The stock market tried to sell off Wednesday but buyers came in, lifting indexes well off session lows.

Inside the Dow, Chevron (CVX) was a big gainer, up 3% to 132.57. The integrated oil and gas name hasn’t looked back after a breakout Dec. 4 over a 120.99 buy point. U.S. crude oil futures settled at a three-year high, up 0.4% to $63.80 a barrel, a three-year high. Oil traded as high as $64.77 a barrel.

Oil and gas stocks outperformed across the board Thursday as more than five of the top-10 performing groups hailed from the sector.

Boeing (BA), Intel (INTC) and Caterpillar (CAT) closed with gains of around 2%. Boeing on Wednesday reported a record backlog of orders.

In the stock market today, Wall Street liked the look of earnings from Delta Air Lines (DAL) as shares jumped 5% to 58.52. Headed into the report, shares were still in buy range from a 54.16 entry, but it’s extended now. Other airlines outperformed, helping lift the group to a gain of around 4%.

Inside the IBD 50, Five Below (FIVE) snapped back 3.6% after a four-session pullback. Also in the IBD 50, Planet Fitness (PLNT) picked up nearly 3%. It’s been a solid performer after gapping out of a flat base Nov. 18 on strong earnings. A recent pullback has come in heavy volume, but Planet Fitness is still 3% off its high and appears to be finding support at the 10-week moving average.

Heavy-volume gainers included SS&C Technologies (SSNC). The financial software name jumped more than 5% on news it’s buying competitor DST Systems (DST) for $5.4 billion. Shares of DST soared 5%.

Staying the software space, RingCentral (RNG) cleared a flat base with a 50.05 entry. Shares rose 5% to 51.60. IBD’s enterprise software group is filled with stocks with strong fundamentals. Two group leaders are members of the Leaderboard portfolio at Investors.com.

Finally, those looking for signs of more inflation were left disappointed on news wholesales prices slipped 0.1% in December, below the consensus estimate of  a 0.2% increase. Excluding food and energy prices, prices fell 0.1%, also below the consensus estimate of a 0.2% gain. The 10-year Treasury yield eased 3 basis points to 2.53% after flirting with the 2.60% level Wednesday.

A few financials are set to report earnings Friday before the open, including BlackRock (BLK), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan (JPM).

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