VIX Pushes 200-Day Moving Average

U.S. markets showed continued momentum on Thursday, for the most part, with the blue-chips taking a breather. Positive developments on prospects of a China trade deal along with continuing corporate earnings beats helped bullish sentiment.

Odds of another shutdown went up following partisan remarks on both sides of the isle over wall funding. However, volatility closed at its lowest level of the month and continues to paint a bullish outlook for the market.

The Nasdaq jumped 1.4% following the intraday run to 7,303. Late November and lower resistance at 7,300-7,350 was cleared but held with continued closes above the latter getting 7,400-7,450 and the 200-day moving average in play.

The S&P 500 was up 0.9% following the second half push to 2,708. Fresh and lower resistance at 2,700-2,725 was cleared and held with a move above the latter leading towards a run at 2,750 and the 200-day moving average.

The Russell 2000 rose 0.8% after trading to morning high just north of 1,500. Upper resistance at 1,490-1,500 was cleared but held by a half-point with continued closes above the latter getting 1,525-1,535 and late November hurdles in play.

The Dow dipped 15 points, or 0.06%, following the morning pullback to 24,842. Fresh and lower support at 25,000-24,800 held along with the 200-day moving average on the close below the former by a half-point.

Communications Services zoomed 4.1% to lead sector strength. Utilities and Consumer Staples soared 2.1% and 1.9%, respectively.

Materials paced sector weakness after falling 1.5%. Financials and Technology slipped 0.2% and 0.1% to round out the laggards.

ANALYST UPGRADES/DOWNGRADES
Pfizer (PFE) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Credit Suisse
Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) upgraded to Neutral from Underweight at JPMorgan
Tiffany (TIF) upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at Atlantic Equities

AMC Networks (AMCX) downgraded to Underperform from In-Line at Imperial Capital
PayPal (PYPLWealth Strength IndexAAPL is Extremely Up and trending Up) downgraded to Hold from Buy at DZ Bank
Steven Madden (SHOO) downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Telsey Advisory

EARNINGS
Friday Before the Open (EST):
AON (AON), Berry Global Group (BERY), Changeyou.com (CYOU), Chevron (CHX), Dominion Energy (D), Exxon Mobile (XOM), Honda Motor (HMC), Honeywell International (HON), Illinois Tool Works (ITW), Johnson Controls (JCI), Madison Square Garden (MSG), Merck (MRK), Norbord (OSB), Simon Property Group (SPG), Sony (SNE), Twin Disc (TWIN), Weyerhaeuser (WY)
Friday After the Close (EST): ​None

UPCOMING ECONOMIC NEWS
Friday’s Economic Reports (EST):
Employment Report – 8:30am
PMI Manufacturing Index – 9:45am
ISM Manufacturing Index – 10:00am
Consumer Sentiment – 10:00am
Construction Spending – 10:00am
Wholesale Trade – 10:00am
Baker-Hughes Rig Count – 1:00pm

​METALS / OIL

Gold closed at $1,232.50 an ounce, up $9.70
Silver settled at $16.07 an ounce, up $0.14
Copper finished at $2.78 a pound, up $0.02
Crude Oil is at $53.99 a barrel, down $0.30
Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) ended at $3.99, down $0.07

  I hope this helps you prepare for the trading day. Make it a great one!

   Todd Mitchell