The broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) continues to demonstrate supernatural powers, vaulting higher for a fifth consecutive day. Favorable economic data provided the spark that lifted the index, yet again, with initial jobless claims falling another 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 from the previous week. With claims nearing a multi-year low, it provides another visible signal that the economy is on the mend, and that unemployment rates should shortly begin improving, assuming this trend keeps up.
For the day, the S&P 500 tacked on 2.80 points (0.18%), to finish at yet another multi-year high, 1,544.26. A quick glance of today's top performers within the S&P 500 reveals that it was just a technology and oil exploration and production kind of day!
Today's top performance within the index was turned in by fiber-optic products supplier JDS Uniphase, (NASDAQ:VIAV) which leapt 7.6%. It actually wasn't JDS' doing at all, but rival Ciena (NYSE:CIEN), which trumped Wall Street's estimates in the first-quarter by reporting a $0.12 per-share profit versus an expected loss of $0.14. Furthermore, Ciena's full-year sales forecast of $465 million to $495 million was well within the gambit that analysts had expected. This is a simple case of what's good for the goose, is good for the gander. Ciena, notoriously streaky come earnings time, seems to be showing considerable stability in demand from service providers, which should bode well when it comes time for JDS Uniphase to report its quarterly results.
Following fiber to the upside, is troubled microprocessor company Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), which gained 5.4%. Despite weakening PC sales, AMD's shares appear to have bottomed out on a mixture of optimism that its cost reductions will yield profitable results as soon as later this year, and that consolidation in the form of the Dell buyout could create interest in the notoriously inexpensive AMD, which is well off its highs. I've personally taken an outperform stance in my CAPS tracking portfolio, and anticipate any downside will be buoyed by activist investors or other companies seeking a bargain in the microprocessing sector.
Finally, natural gas kingpin Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) rose 5.6%, following favorable natural gas supply data and an update to its audit committee. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration released natural gas storage figures this morning, which showed a 146-billion cubic foot decrease in overall storage, to 2.083-trillion cubic feet. Lower storage levels could help relieve chronic natural gas oversupply, and push underlying prices higher. Also, Chesapeake announced that its audit committee chairman, V. Burns Hargis, has resigned, as per its original agreement once Chesapeake's internal audit was complete. However, following the completion of that audit, the SEC announced a probe into the perks of the current -- and soon-to-be former -- CEO of Chesapeake, Aubrey McClendon, while he was at the helm.
Fool contributor Sean Williams owns shares of Dell, but has no material interest in any other companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
The Motley Fool has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $20 Calls on Chesapeake Energy, Long Jan 2014 $30 Calls on Chesapeake Energy, and Short Jan 2014 $15 Puts on Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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