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Stocks End Higher in Quiet Pre-Holiday Trading

U.S. equities ground higher in choppy but light trading on Monday, with large caps dipping into the red at midday before rallying into the close.

The catalyst seems to be details out of China of new economic stimulus measures, including decreasing unsold home inventories.

In the end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7%, the S&P 500 gained 0.8%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9%, and the Russell 2000 gained 0.6%. Treasury bonds climbed, high-yield bonds were under pressure again, the dollar weakened, crude oil lost 0.2% and gold gained 1.2%.


The rally in the yellow metal lifted the collection of gold and silver stocks recommended to Edge subscribers, including a 3.5% rise in First Majestic Silver Corp. (NYSE:AG).

Defensive telecom stocks led the way with a 1.1% gain, followed by technology, which added 1.1%. Wearables maker Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) gained 4.9% after analysts at Pacific Crest noted strong post-Black-Friday inventory levels with 30% of stores reporting temporary sellouts.

Energy stocks were the laggards, gaining only 0.1%.

Beleaguered Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) lost 3.5% on reports the Centers for Disease Control was investigating another, more recent E.coli outbreak involving a different strain.

Focus remains on the pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes in 2016, with two-thirds of 42 economists polled by the Financial Times looking for another 0.25% rate hike in March. Slightly more than half expect a third hike by June.

The futures market is only looking for slightly more than two hikes by the end of 2016 vs. the Fed’s own expectations of another four hikes.

Anthony Mirhaydari is founder of the Edge and Edge Pro investment advisory newsletters. Free two- and four-week trial offers have been extended to InvestorPlace readers.

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