Nasdaq Leads Up Session As FAANG Stocks Rally; CyberArk Jumps On Upgrade

Major stock indexes held robust gains in afternoon trading Thursday. Top stock gainers included Dow stock Apple (AAPL). Shares popped 2% after JPMorgan initiated coverage with an overweight rating and set a 272 price target. Amazon.com (AMZN) picked up nearly 2%. Stifel Nicolaus raised its price target to 2,525.

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The Nasdaq composite led the way, up 0.8%, while the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average picked up 0.4% each. Small caps lagged, with the Russell 2000 up just 0.1%. Volume on the NYSE was tracking slightly higher than Wednesday’s. Nasdaq volume was lower.

Heavy-volume gainers included IBD 50 and Leaderboard stock CyberArk Software (CYBR). Shares jumped 7% to 78.58 after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to overweight and raised its price target to 92. Group peer Fortinet (FTNT) was another top gainer in the IBD 50, up nearly 3%.

Growth stocks have been outperforming nicely in recent days. So far this week, Innovator IBD 50 (FFTY), an exchange traded fund that tracks the performance of IBD 50 stocks, is up nearly 3%, broadly outperforming a gain of 1% for the Nasdaq composite.

Medpace Holdings (MEDP), a contract research organization serving biotech and pharmaceutical firms, was another solid gainer in the IBD 50. Shares jumped 3% to 59.47 as it gets support at the 50-day moving average.

Top Stock Gainers: WellCare Health Plans

WellCare Health Plans (WCG) gained nearly 4%, a beneficiary of a potential merger between CVS Health (CVS) and Aetna (AET). Aetna agreed to sell its Medicare drug business to WellCare as it seeks U.S. antitrust approval for a planned acquisition by CVS.

Airline stocks outperformed, but most of the stocks are well off their highs. Exceptions include Southwest Airlines (LUV), up 1% and only 5% off its high; and Delta Air Lines (DAL), up 1% and only 3% off its high. The rally in airline stocks came as oil prices rose again. Benchmark crude oil futures were recently up 0.7% to $ 72.06 a barrel.

In the energy space, Matador Resources (MTDR) rose 3.5% to 33.17. The stocks tends to trade in volatile fashion, but the oil and gas producer is getting closer to a 34.54 buy point.

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