Stocks Start 2012 on High Note; Dow Rises 180
Optimistic sentiment over the New Year, along with a number of better than expected economic reports, led to a rally in the U.S. stock market on Tuesday in the first trading session of 2012. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed a little less than 180 points to close at 12,397. The widely watched blue-chip index traded in a range between 12,221 and 12,479.
The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) jumped 1.59% to $127.50. Volume was a little lighter than normal, but heavier than any day last week. Around 173 million SPY shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 231.5 million.
The PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (NASDAQ: QQQ), which tracks the performance of the NASDAQ 100, added 1.92% to close at $56.90. The QQQ is up 2.87% over the last year.
Crude oil soared to begin the New Year on the back of the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. NYMEX crude futures climbed 4.24% to $103.02 while ICE Brent contracts rose 4.60% to $112.32. In ETF trading, the United States Oil Fund (NYSE: USO) surged 4.15% to $39.69.
Gold also had a very strong session as the Dollar was weak. COMEX gold futures surged 2.46%, back above $1,600, to $1,605.30. The SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSE: GLD) gained 2.59% to $155.92, finishing near its highs of the session. Silver futures also notched a very strong day, rising 6.23% to $29.605.
Treasuries fell sharply on Tuesday as traders preferred riskier assets. The iShares Barlcays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) lost 1.50% to $119.43. The yield on the 10-Year Note rose 7.6 basis points to 1.95%.
A lower U.S. Dollar was largely responsible for increased risk appetite. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, fell 0.85% to $22.28. The closely watched EUR/USD pair is currently trading at $1.3051.
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