Against the unlikely backdrop of the Fed’s early and accidental leak of the Open Market Committee meeting’s minutes, as well as the beginning of an earnings season that has so far provided mixed results, the S&P 500 broke through to a new all-time high in intraday trading, as high as 1,589.07 before closing at 1,587.73, up 1.22 percent.
The minutes of the FOMC showed that a majority of the Fed’s board members favored continuing the reserve bank’s monetary policy pending solid improvement in the economy, though there was a good portion of the summary that dealt in some detail with reservations on the part of some members regarding the potential consequences from quantitative easing and sustained record-low interest rates.
Half of the S&P’s top 20 performers were tech stocks. JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU) gained 4.84 percent to close at $13.99, followed by Micron Technology Inc. (MU) up 5.38 percent to $10.09, and Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR), up 4.67 percent to close at $18.84. Teradata Corp (TDC), SanDisk Corp. (SNDK), Akamai Technologies, Inc. (AKAM), MetroPCS Communications (PCS), Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT), Western Digital Corp. (WDC), and TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP) making up the rest of the list, all making gains of over 3 percent on the day.
First Solar’s (FSLR) shares cooled off after Tuesday’s close that saw the stock gain nearly 50 percent, dropping 7.70 percent on the day to close at $36.32, while Best Buy (BBY), whose shares have more than doubled in price in 2013 as a result of the company’s successful turnaround plan and, more recently, its deal with Samsung, dropped 3.57 percent to close at $24.82.
The Dow also reached and held yet another record high during, reaching 14,826.66 before closing up 0.88 percent to 14,802.24, pushed upward by 6 tech stocks among its top 20 components, with Intel Corp. (INTC) leading the way, up 2.34 percent to $22.26, propelled by the announcement of the second version of its super-fast Thunderbolt computer connectivity technology, as well as the introduction of its much anticipated Moonshot server systems.
Intel was followed closely by Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), who gained 2.46 percent to close at $21.49, and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), up 2.09 percent to $30.23, with International Business Machines (IBM), AT&T (T), and Verizon Communications (VZ) in tow.
Only three of the Dow’s components were in the red, including aluminum manufacturer Alcoa (AA), down 0.83 percent to $8.32, Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), down 0.74 percent to $77.54, and The Travelers Companies Inc. (TRV), down 0.54 percent to $84.81.
The Nasdaq gained a whopping 1.83 percent to close the day at 3,297.25.
Royale Energy (ROYL), the independent oil and gas company from San Diego, had a monster day gaining 67.05 percent to close at $3.34, the second time its shares have done so in as many weeks, as a result of the news of an upcoming and extremely lucrative deal with an as-yet unnamed partner who will help the company explore and drill its North Slope, Alaska holdings.
JetBlue (JBLU) clocked in a gain of 4.33 percent, to close at $6.99, after the popular discount airline reported a year-on-year traffic increase of 8.6 percent, while Coinstar, Inc. (CSTR) was up 3.87 percent to close at $58.78.
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