Markets Forget About Monday with Stocks Higher for Second Consecutive Session

Michael Teague  |

Stocks on Wall Street ended significantly higher for a second consecutive day on Wednesday, as investors rejoiced in the improbable, yet very real passage of a $1.1 trillion budget deal in Washington, D.C. that will keep the Federal government open and functional through October.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added another half of a percentage point, closing at 1,848.38 points, while the Dow Industrials rose two-thirds of a percent to 16,481.94. The NASDAQ bested both benchmark indices, however, gaining about three-quarters of a percentage point, for a point total of 4,214.88 by the closing bell.

The passage of the spending bill through the erstwhile minefield alternatively known as the House of Representatives was surprising enough for having happened at all, but was all the more notable for what appeared to be significant compromises from both parties, as well as a conspicuous lack of trench-warfare politics, and resulting government closures, that have come to precede the passage of spending bills in recent years.

On the S&P 500, Bank of America (BAC) added another 2.25 percent and on approximately 3.5 times average volume after revealing early in the day that profits for the recently ended fourth quarter were $1 billion ahead of expectations, and five times what they were in the prior year period. The good news for Bank of America was also good news for its peers in big finance, with Wells Fargo (WFC) getting a nearly 2 percent bump, and JPMorgan (JPM) adding 3 percent despite the non-descript balance sheet it had released the day prior.

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Most of the Dow Industrials ended the day in the positive, topped by JPMorgan and with big techs in tow. Microsoft (MSFT) came in a close second, while Verizon Communications (VZ) shareholders made a display of their satisfaction with the company’s victory over the FCC in Tuesday’s controversial and hugely consequential “net neutrality” ruling. The decision knocked down the FCC's regulatory framework for ensuring internet service providers give customers the same quality access to all content available on the world wide web, even the content of potential/actual competitors.

Small-cap biotechs had a big day on the NASDAQ, with Chelsea Therapeutics International (CHTP) shares nearly doubling in price by the closing bell after the Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of its low-blood-pressure treatment. The stock was one of the most heavily traded of the day on nearly 23-times average volume. Small drug manufacturer Amarin Corportation (AMRN) added 16 percent, also on heavy volume.

Tesla (TSLA) bulls made yet another show of their lack of concern regarding fire-safety with the company’s flagship Model S sedan after yesterday’s recall, with the stock gaining nearly 2 percent by the close.

Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) rose over 2 percent for much the same reason as Verizon. The company could be attributed with starting the net neutrality debate when they were caught slowing down customer access to competitor websites back in 2010. Tech giants Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) also contributed to the NASDAQ’s gains on the day, adding 1.65 and 2 percent respectively.

Investors looking to stay ahead of IPOs in 2014 need look no further than’s own IPO expert Francis Gaskins, who offered a report on the 5 offerings scheduled for this week.

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