STOCKS RALLY: Here's What You Need To Know

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salmon fry captured trapped

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A salmon fry swims in a ladle as it is released into the Kamenice river near the village of Jetrichovice, October 22, 2013.

Stock quietly moved higher today.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow:  15,509.2 , +95.8, +0.6 %
  • S&P 500: 1,752.0, +5.6, +0.3%
  • NASDAQ: 3,928.9, +21.8, +0.5%

And now the top stories:

  • Stocks closed just a handful of points from all-time highs.
  • Earlier today, we learned that initial weekly jobless claims fell to 350,000 from 362,000 a week ago. This reading was a bit higher than the 340,000 economists were looking for. However, this data point continues to be affected by non-economic glitches. "Applications in California remained elevated and analysts weren't able to determine how many non-federal workers filed due to the government shutdown, a Labor Department spokesman said as the figures were released to the press," reported Bloomberg's Michelle Jamrisko. "Firings may gradually diminish as a backlog of claims processing in California and the end to the closure of government offices push and pull on the figures."
  • The Flash U.S. PMI number missed expectations, falling to 51.1 in October from 52.8 in September.  Economists were looking for a 52.5 print. The output index plunged to 49.5 from 55.3, reflecting contraction. "The flash PMI provides the first insight into how business fared against the backdrop of the government shutdown in October, and suggests that the disruptions and uncertainty caused by the crisis hit companies hard," said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson. "The survey showed the first fall in manufacturing output since the height of the global financial crisis back in September 2009. We can expect GDP growth to have suffered a set-back in the fourth quarter, but it is too early to estimate the extent of the slowdown."
  • Economists and traders are increasingly talking about how the Federal Reserve may have missed its chance to taper its large-scale asset purchase program (aka QE). Bond traders were passing around a report titled " Fed: Ctrl-Alt-Delete" that argued as much. Medley Global Advisors analysts  Regina Schleiger and Jeremy Torobin write that, "m ore than simply standing pat, the Federal Open Market Committee has effectively hit the reset button and is back where it was six months ago — at the very start of a long process of building the case for a downward adjustment to the Large-Scale Asset Purchase program."
  • The Medley analysts continue: " The witch's brew of a labor market that was weaker even before the shutdown and debt-ceiling drama, growth that has disappointed and which was supposed to be accelerating already, and price gains so persistently meager that disinflation could soon take on a central role in the FOMC conversation, mean the bar for any change is higher than it has been for some time. "
  • In a stunner of a note, Societe Generale's Mary-Beth Fisher notes that there's still a chance the Fed increases QE. From Fisher: " In retrospect the decision not to taper seems a prescient choice by the FOMC.  Unfortunately, there has been no “continuing improvement” since the last meeting. Moreover,  the fiscal uncertainties became a near-fiscal disaster, one that will weaken the October data  and lingers on the horizon for Q1 2014. The question now may very well be whether or not the FOMC will choose to increase asset  purchases at the next meeting, or whether it will include language in the FOMC statement that indicates they are strongly considering the option. "
  • After the closing bell, Microsoft and Amazon.com announce Q3 financial results.
  • Don't Miss: Bond Traders Are Passing Around This Report That Says The Fed Has Hit 'Ctrl-Alt-Delete' On Tapering »
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