Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +0.41%, S&P +0.90%, Nasdaq +1.49%, Oil +1.89%, Gold +1.28%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $89.86 a barrel. Precious metals also rose, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,836.60 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbed 1.96% to $41.01 an ounce.
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Today’s markets were up because:
1) Technology. In a rare move, markets moved higher today, not because of positive economic data, but because of strong companies and sectors. Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) were two of today’s best performers after the former outlined streamlining efforts aimed at cutting annual costs by $1 billion, and the latter unveiled Windows 8. The new OS comes with a dual interface enhanced for both tablets and PCs, which an early review calls the new OS a playground for for developers and coders, and is seen as critical in encouraging quality app-writing.
2) Health insurance. Aetna (NYSE:AET) climbed roughly 5.5% today after the firm said strong results so far in the third quarter will enable it to beat street earnings estimates of $4.66 a share. Aetna led insurers higher, with WellPoint (NYSE:WLP), CIGNA (NYSE:CI), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), Humana (NYSE:HUM), and WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) all climbing higher.
3) Airlines. While all sectors ended the day in the black, the airline sector outperformed them all, led higher by US Airways (NYSE:LCC), which climbed as much as 20% today after the head of the airline said September unit revenue would grow an estimated 13% thanks in part to seat-capacity cuts. Industry executives confirmed that they have yet to see any signs of the contracting economy hurting their September bookings. Most major airlines plan to decrease seat capacities, allowing them to increase ticket prices while filling plans. The news had the entire sector outperforming the markets, with JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU), Alaska Air (NYSE:ALK), United Continental (NYSE:UAL), Southwest (NYSE:LUV), Delta (NYSE:DAL), and AMR Corp. (NYSE:AMR) all climbing.