Modest Celebrations Greet Dow All-Time Highs

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The Dow stretched to all-time highs Tuesday to cap an impressive comeback from the depths of the financial crisis. Ten of the Dow's 30 components hit 52-week highs on the day as US indices opened higher today and never looked back. The S&P pushed through and closed above pivot highs of around 1530, potentially paving the way for it to challenge all-time highs as well. Despite the market milestones reached today the celebrations felt a bit subdued. I think even the bulls acknowledge that the world economy and markets still face enormous challenges to sustain a meaningful recovery.

Despite all of the headlines about the Dow and S&P today, the Nasdaq actually took a turn leading with a 1.32% gain. Much of the strength in the index can be attributed to a bounce by Apple (AAPL), which yesterday filled a gap to the downside from the January 2012. Scott Redler talked about that $420 level in his 2013 predictions as a natural support level for AAPL, and at least in the short-term that appears to have held. It will certainly be interesting to see what today's 2.65% gain leads to. If AAPL can break its almost six month downtrend, it would be a major lift for the lagging tech sector.

On a positive day in the market, JC Penney (JCP) certainly had no reason to celebrate. Former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson has been unable to reverse the department store's fortunes as CEO. The company last week reported its lowest revenue since 1987, and today the stock plunged another 10%. After the close yesterday, Vornado Realty Trust, the company's second largest shareholder, reportedly offered to sell 10 million shares, which represents nearly half of its stake. Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital is the largest shareholder of JCP.

*DISCLOSURES: FB, GS, AAPL, V, LNKD, MS, GNRC, EOG, ANTH, BAC, ZNGA, TBT, CMG, GOOG, SHOS. Long calls in the following stocks: AAPL, CMG, PANW, DECK, DDD, TBT, ZNGA, BBRY, FB, GNRC, VXX, UA, RYL, LEN, DRYS, S.

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