Top 3 Reasons Markets were Up on Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday

Markets closed up on Wall Street: DJI +0.06% SP500 +0.02% Nasdaq +0.61% Gold +0.33% Oil +0.69.

Markets started up, drifted into the red midday, then staged a late day comeback. Investors seemed to like hearing about cuts to the US deficit as President Obama claims the government has the willpower to cut $4 trillion over 12 years. The Fed added the economy is doing OK in today’s Beige Book release. On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) ticked back to $107 a barrel. Gold (NYSE:GLD) and Silver (NYSE:SLV) also found some buyers today.

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Financials (NYSE:XLF) were in focus. JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) announced so-so earnings, but investor reactions were mixed. Jamie Dimon tried to hold the spotlight with disappointing news about a dividend freeze at JPM, but the Feds waltzed in and sanctioned all the other big name banks for bad mortgage and foreclosure practices. Get more details in our new installment “Investing in Financials: Jamie Dimon Deflates the Party, Feds Slap Mortgage Lenders“.

2) Technology stocks (NASDAQ:QQQ) outperformed. Investors bid up shares of Chinese search engine Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) as rumors over a joint venture social network with Facebook continue to spread. Investors also were happy with the taste of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as people start placing bets on how big the retailers new cloud service will be to Apple’s ever-expanding bottom line. In other positive news, Riverbed Technologies (NASDAQ:RVBD) pre-announced positive earnings which added to the lust for everything tech.

3) General Electric (NYSE:GE) said it would pay unpaid US taxes … NOT! In a hilarious prank, the Yes Men issued an official looking press release stating “GE would send its $3.2 billion tax refund from 2010 back to Washington.” This didn’t move markets, but it sure moved a lot of people in GE (NYSE:GE) corporate.

Now that you’re in the know, enjoy the end of the Aurora Borealis!

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