Investors’ End-of-Year Focus Should be on Blue Chips

by Sam Collins | December 27, 2013 2:05 am

Thursday’s price action on the major exchanges may have appeared to be dull, but many stocks made new highs and the Dow industrials gained for the sixth session in a row.

Bond prices fell and the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 3%. This is a strong indication that public sentiment is moving toward optimism and that the Federal Reserve is cutting back on its bond-buying program.

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits declined by a larger number than economists expected.

At Thursday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 122 points to 16,480, the S&P 500 rose 9 points to 1,842, and the Nasdaq gained 12 points to 4,167. The NYSE total volume was close to 2 billion shares, and the Nasdaq traded 1.2 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered decliners by 1.1-to-1 on both major exchanges.

DJI Chart
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The Dow has extended its gains as institutions gobble up the best blue chips prior to the end of the year. This year, the industrial have jumped almost 26%.

DJU Chart
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Even though the Dow Jones Utility Average is far from new highs, it is not in a bear market but is consolidating on a broad bottom. It, like the other Dow indices, traces its bottom to March 2009. It may not be the most exciting index, but it has provided a solid rate of return when combined with its higher-than-average dividends.

Conclusion: The markets are plodding toward the close of 2013. With only three sessions to go in the year, investors should focus on the big-cap blue chips since that is where the smart money appears to be headed.

Today’s Trading Landscape

To see a list of the companies reporting earnings today, click here[2].

For a list of this week’s economic reports due out, click here[3].

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