By Markus Heitkoetter
￼After opening the U.S. session slightly higher, stocks took off and never looked back.
The question is…what’s driving this rally? And it’s really hard to say.
ISM Manufacturing PMI was the only major report on the calendar. Today’s 50.1 reading was in-line with expectations (a reading above 50 indicates industry expansion), but showed that manufacturing slowed in October.
But in spite of lackluster news, there’s just no fear in the market. Today the $VIX (aka Fear Index) closed at 14.15, the lowest level since August 18th.
At the end of the day, the S&P was sitting on a 1.2% gain. Up 25 points, the S&P finished the day at 2104.05. It was the first close above 2100 in over two and half months.
The DOW ended the day with a 0.9% gain. Adding 165 points, the DOW ended at 17828.76. Today’s gain brought the DOW back to breakeven for the year.
Leading the way once again, the NASDAQ finished 1.5% higher. With a 73 point gain, the NASDAQ closed at 5127.15. After today’s rally, the NASDAQ sits less than 100 points away from its record close.
Today energy stocks outperformed. Chevron (CVX) finished 4.5% higher, and Exxon Mobil (XOM) was up 3.1% on better than expected earnings. The move countered today’s 1.1% drop in Crude Oil (CL).
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) was one stock that couldn’t keep up with today’s trend. An E. coli outbreak shut down dozens of stores over the weekend. This put pressure on CMG, and the stock finished 2.5% lower.
We have an active economic calendar this week, but tomorrow is rather quiet. Factory Orders at 10:00am ET is the only scheduled report of any significance.