The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) is clearly on a winning streak and this tech-heavy index closed higher on Monday for the ninth straight day. These gains were boosted by an increase in Apple (O:AAPL) shares of 2.7% to $133.00 and it marks the index’s longest winning streak since September 2010. Meanwhile, the other benchmark indices traded lower as a result of declining oil prices which dragged down the energy shares. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 0.1%, or 23.54 points, to 18,116.90. The top performer on the index was UnitedHealth Group Inc. while the shares of Boeing Co. were the biggest decliners. Also on the downside was the S&P 500 index which closed flat at 2,109.66. The trading session on Monday saw investors turn away from energy, telecoms and consumer discretionary companies while health-care stocks and utilities took center stage. Also, the CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was at 14.56, up 1.82 percent.
After the release of poor home sales data out of the U.S., the U.S. dollar (USD) traded lower against most major currencies on Monday. According to the report by the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales declined to 4.82 million units in January, down 4.9% compared to 5.07 million units in December. This missed analysts’ expectations for existing home sales to fall to 4.97 million units in January, down 0.8 percent. In currency trading, the EUR/USD traded at 1.1336, down 0.41% while the USD/JPY traded steady at 118.96. Against the Japanese yen, the euro traded lower with EUR/JPY down 0.44% at 1.0756. Also, the U.S. dollar index was up 0.30% to 94.69.
On Tuesday, Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) is expected to report first-quarter fiscal 2015 results after the U.S. markets close. In the last quarter, the company surprised investors and posted positive earnings of 0.95 percent and analysts are wondering if the company will impress again this quarter. Added to this, analysts and investors are also waiting to learn more about the company’s plans to split in to two companies expected later this year. Last year, the computing and IT giant reported that they will divide the company into two companies. The one would be called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise which will focus on its corporate IT services and hardware business while the other company, HP Inc., will consist of HP’s printing and PC business. This second company will also be responsible for taking on most of the parent company’s operating debt. According to analysts from Thomson Reuters, HP is expected to post revenue of $27.4 billion and earnings per share of 91 cents. In the last quarter, sales were led mainly by notebooks and analysts believe that we will see continued strength of notebook PC sales in the first quarter. Other factors in focus will be how currency exchange rates have impacted HP’s revenue. Hewlett-Packard is currently trading at $38.19 a share.
In Asian trading on Tuesday, crude oil prices edged higher. This came as markets turn their attention to Greece as well as the U.S. supply data expected out today. Crude oil for April delivery traded at $49.37 a barrel, up 0.11 percent on the NYMEX. Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for delivery in April dropped to $59.05 a barrel, down $1.18, or 1.95 percent. The spread between the WTI crude and the Brent contracts stands at $9.47 a barrel. Today, investors are waiting for the supply data release from the U.S. Department of Energy which will provide information on U.S. crude and refined product stocks as of last week. Meanwhile, according to Baker Hughes, an industry research group, the number of active rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by only 37 last week, with the total number of rigs drilling for oil at 1,019. This marks the lowest number since August 2011.