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Stock Market Eases As Bitcoin Rebounds; Boeing, GE Weigh On Dow | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Modest losses for the major stock indexes Thursday was a perfectly fine performance for the bulls, especially in light of Wednesday’s strong gains. Meanwhile, several top-rated growth names outperformed again.

X The Dow Jones industrial average lagged, falling nearly 0.4%, weighed down by weakness in Boeing (BA) and General Electric (GE). The S&P 500 eased about 0.2% and the Nasdaq composite fell fractionally. Preliminary data showed volume on the NYSE and Nasdaq coming in about 10% lower than Wednesday’s levels.

UnitedHealth (UNH) and Wal-Mart (WMT) bucked the trend in the Dow with gains of around 2%. Wal-Mart was a beneficiary of positive comments from Goldman Sachs.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) extended gains after reversing higher Tuesday on news it plans to bring most of its overseas cash back to the U.S. to fund domestic expansion, among other things. Shares added 0.1% to 179.26.  After finding support a the 50-day moving average, Apple is still in buy range from a 176.34 entry.

Bitcoin rebounded as volatile trading in the cryptocurrency continued. After coming close the $9,000 level Wednesday, it was back up to $11,700 near 4 p.m. ET. Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) gapped back above the 50-day moving average, soaring 13.5% to 1,857.

Wall Street had a lot of economic data to consider before the open, but the bond market didn’t react much to the news. The 10-year Treasury yield added 2 basis points to 2.61%.

Weekly jobless claims came in much lower than expected at 220,000, a 45-year low and well below the consensus estimate for s smaller drop to 250,000. Meanwhile, December housing starts came in well below expectations, while the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index came in slightly below expectation

In the stock market today, chip-equipment stocks were in the news again after ASML Holding (ASML) delivered strong earnings Wednesday. The stock gapped up for the fourth straight session, rising 2% to 203.36 on news of a big earnings beat and the second straight quarter of accelerating sales growth. Sales jumped 53% to $3.07 billion.

IBD’s chip-equipment group s0ared nearly 5% Wednesday. Group peer Applied Materials (AMAT) is back near highs at it works on the right side of a shallow base. Lam Research (LRCX), meanwhile, reports earnings next week.

Inside the IBD 50, small-cap chip name Ichor (ICHR) extended gains after Wednesday’s bullish gap above the 50-day moving average. Shares rose another 7% as they draw closer to an all-time high.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) gapped up and rose 2% to 157.82. It’s still well within buy range from a 156.95 flat-base entry, but the security software name has shown a tendency to break out and pull back quickly.

On the downside, Alcoa (AA) slumped 7% to 53. Big sellers were in the stock after the aluminum giant missed earnings expectations, but it’s still holding comfortably above a 50.41 buy point.

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