9:00am (EST)

The market ended Monday with the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all posting gains while oil ended lower by a buck.  The bulls were able to take all 3 indexes into the green after the opening bell but Tech acted funny on a downgrade of Amazon.com (AMZN, $173.29, down $3.95) and weighed on the Nasdaq all day.  However, the bulls had a final hour push which lifted the index into positive territory by the closing bell. 

The Dow ended the day with a gain of 96 points and closed at 12,226.  The S&P added 7 points and settled at 1,327 while Tech added a point to finish at 2,782.  For the month of February here is how the indexes fared:  Dow (+2.8%), S&P 500 (+3.2%); Nasdaq (+3%).  We like to mention the Russell 2000 from time-to-time and the index had a strong February, up 5%, and closed at 822 on Monday. 

We were looking for a close above 12,200 for the Dow; 1,325 for the S&P and 2,800 for the Nasdaq yesterday.  Two-out-of-3 isn’t bad.  The good news is that February ended positive for the bulls, along with January, and is usually a good indication for the rest of 2011.  When these two months close back-to-back in positive territory, the market usually ends the year higher 95% of the time.

We were encouraged by the action in Tech by the close but we are more excited about Wednesday.  Apple (AAPL, $353.21, up $5.05) is expected to debut its iPad 2 tomorrow and now has 70,000 iPad applications that are up and running.  Others tablet makers are clearly playing catch-up to Apple.  There was a report yesterday by All Things Digital which said tablets will grow into a $35 billion market in 2012.  This would represent year-over-year growth of over 170%.  Incredible.

The Financial stocks weren’t much help either as they remain a key piece of the puzzle for a continued run higher.  The sector has shown some signs of wanting to go higher but seems stuck in a trading range with the bias to the downside over the past few weeks.  However, economic news continues to show a slightly better economy and lending is on the rebound from where it was 6 months ago.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Futures are up this morning while oil is also slightly higher.  As we head to press, Dow futures are advancing 27 points to 12, 243 while the S&P 500 futures are up 4 points to 1,330.  The Nasdaq 100 futures are showing a 9 point gain to 2,360.

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