Stocks Skyrocket on Tentative Postponement of Debt-Limit Vote

Michael Teague  |

In a stark reverse from recent trading sessions, Thursday saw Wall Street catapulting to huge gains, as investors apparently took heart in a prospective House Republican plan to at least temporarily save the US from defaulting on its debts.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average each finished the day 2.18 percent higher, at a total of 1,692.56 points and 15,126.07 points respectively. Meanwhile, the NASDAQ  posted a final tally of 3,760.75 points on an advance of 2.26 percent.

The first overt sign that House Republicans are ready to move towards some kind of deal in order to avoid the breaching of the debt ceiling on Oct 17 of next week is obviously a welcome gesture, but also a rather paltry one considering some of the details.

With hysteria over the debt-ceiling impasse moving to center stage, the plan announced today by Republicans does not address the ongoing government shutdown that is now well into its second week. Furthermore, the raising of the debt ceiling currently on offer would be for a period of six weeks, at the end of which Americans will surely be subjected to yet another round of political theatre.

Indeed, contributor George Brooks summed up the situation rather astutely, when he likened a market rally under current political conditions to "More like a medicine ball bouncing than a golf ball off a cart path."

The only economic data point to emerge on Thursday was the Department of Labor’s weekly jobless claims report, which spiked by almost 70,000 from the prior week in a potential sign that the abrupt and senseless truncation of US government services is beginning to have palpably negative consequences for working people.

Despite such concerns, indices posted their largest single-day advances since January. On the S&P 500, basic materials stocks from the oil and gas sectors posted the best performance, with substantial gains for Marathon Petroleum (MPC) , CONSOL Energy (CNX) , Tesoro Corporations (TSO) , and Valero Energy (VLO) .

Brick-and-mortar retailer Best Buy (BBY) topped the S&P for the day, gaining 7.5 percent to close at $39 per share.

All of the Dow’s components finished the day higher, led by aerospace/defense monolith Boeing Co. (BA) , followed by Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) , both of whom rode the day’s optimism to gains of nearly 4 percent.

Meanwhile, on the NASDAQ tech shares were the big story of the day. Micron Technology (MU) , Facebook (FB) , Intel (INTC) , Microsoft (MSFT) , and Zynga (ZNGA) all advanced on heavy trading. Groupon Inc (GRPN) popped over 8 percent after announcing upgrades to its point-of-sale system.

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Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
UNH UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (DE) 262.33 -0.77 -0.29 1,969,679 Trade
FB Facebook Inc. 173.80 -0.90 -0.52 24,893,176 Trade
INTC Intel Corporation 47.10 -0.07 -0.15 26,381,992 Trade
VLO Valero Energy Corporation 111.00 -0.32 -0.29 1,791,078 Trade
MPC Marathon Petroleum Corporation 77.11 0.42 0.55 3,374,383 Trade
TSO ANDV Tesoro Corporation n/a n/a n/a 0
CNX CNX Resources Corporation 15.19 0.28 1.88 1,296,396 Trade
BBY Best Buy Co. Inc. 78.48 1.57 2.04 1,824,195 Trade
ZNGA Zynga Inc. 3.72 0.02 0.54 5,965,644 Trade
BA The Boeing Company 346.40 0.42 0.12 3,069,190 Trade
GRPN Groupon Inc. 4.41 -0.11 -2.43 6,638,155 Trade
MU Micron Technology Inc. 47.11 0.01 0.02 34,464,220 Trade
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 107.58 -0.06 -0.06 18,061,512 Trade
PKMS Peckham Indus Inc n/a n/a n/a 0


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