Geopolitical tensions flared up again, but US markets managed to score yet another all-time high.
Today was a quadruple witching expiration day, when equity options, index futures, index options, and single-stock futures all expire on the same day.
Quad witching days are sometimes associated with strong volatility, though it was a quiet day overall for US equity markets.
The S&P 500
(INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.2% to 1,962.87, and touched a new all-time intraday high at 1,963.91. The Nasdaq Composite
(INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) and Russell 2000
(INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) also rose modestly.
Shares of BlackBerry
(NASDAQ:BBRY) rose 7.9% to $9.81 after Citron Research issued a bullish report on the stock. Citron expects BlackBerry shares to hit $20, implying a 100%+ return from current levels.
Software giant Oracle
(NASDAQ:ORCL) had a rough day after missing analysts' fourth-quarter earnings and revenue expectations on Thursday afternoon. The stock fell 4.0 to $40.82.
(NASDAQ:AMZN) fell 0.9% to $324.20, as investors debated the potential success of its Fire smartphone. The stock had rallied sharply on the Fire's introduction Wednesday, but with today's decline, all the gains have been given up.
Newly public financial technology firm Markit
(NASDAQ:MRKT) rose 0.9% to $26.95. It rallied 11.3% Thursday, which was its first day of trading.
In international markets, Russian stocks declined as Ukrainian troops clashed with Pro-Russia militants overnight. Russia also deployed troops along the Ukraine border.
Iraq remained a source of tension for markets, and drove crude oil prices up today. Iraqi troops have been battling ISIS militants for control of a key oil refinery, and news reports indicate that the militants are winning. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shiite Cleric, called for a new administration in Iraq, implying the ousting of current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
With the rise in crude oil, energy was the top-performing S&P sector today.
Health care stocks also performed well, with biotech standing out. The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF
(NASDAQ:IBB) rose 2.0%.
Monday's Financial Outlook
The economic and earnings calendars are light.
The June Chicago PMI report will be released at 9:45 a.m. ET, followed by May Pending Home Sales at 10:00 a.m.
(NYSE:HTZ) and Micron Technology
(NYSE:MU) will report earnings after the close.
The tensions in Iraq and Ukraine have traders a bit nervous, but not quite enough to slow the bulls down. It may take a significant catalyst over the weekend to cause a disruption in US markets Monday.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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