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Stock Indexes Rise; First Solar Hits New High | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

U.S. stock indexes got back on the up track midday Thursday, though daily gains in the first full week of 2018 have been mild so far.

X The small-cap Russell 2000 rose 1.2%, leading the indexes for the first time this year. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite followed with gains of 0.5%, 0.4% and 0.4%, respectively.

Volume in the stock market today fell on both major exchanges compared with the same time Wednesday.

Among IBD’s 197 industry groups, energy stocks, home furnishings and airlines were the day’s top gainers. Food-related stocks fell the most.

First Solar (FSLR) jumped 6% in heavy volume. The midcap stock cleared a short, sideways consolidation that is too short to be a valid  base. Vertical Group, a privately held investment bank, initiated coverage on the stock Thursday with a buy rating.

First Solar’s relative strength line is at a high, a bullish indicator. The RS line measures a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500. A rising line points to outperformance.

Vertical Group on Thursday initiated a buy rating on the stock, saying First Solar is “decidedly” undervalued.

In the oil patch, integrated oil stock Chevron (CVX) struck a new high. Chevron rose 2% in heavy volume. West Texas intermediate crude oil rose 1.5% to about $64.50 a barrel.

Home furnishings retailer RH (RH) surged 4% as it climbed back to its 50-day moving average. The small cap is 12% off a recent high.

American Airlines (AAL) advanced 2% in heavy volume. The stock is in the 5% buy zone from a 53.84 buy point. JetBlue Airways (JBLU) climbed 3% as the stock approaches a 22.84 buy point in a cup-with-handle base.

Blue chips were mostly up. Six stocks in the 30-component Dow Jones industrial average rose 1% or more: Chevron, General Electric (GE), Caterpillar (CAT), Intel (INTC), Boeing (BA) and Exxon Mobil (XOM).

The Innovator IBD 50 Fund (FFTY) added 0.26 to 35, bringing the exchange-traded fund up 5.5% in 2018. The Innovator ETF, which is based on the IBD 50, rose 37% last year.

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