Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Big Tech Powers S&P 500 Rally Toward All-Time High: Markets Wrap

While the structural issues South Africa is facing may limit the potential upside, investors should remember that not all JSE-listed companies are affected to the same extent, says Abax Investments. (Image: Adobestock)

U.S. stocks climbed toward an all-time high as a rally in technology companies tempered a slide in banks. Treasuries rose.

The S&P 500 took aim at its February closing record, buoyed by fresh Chinese stimulus overnight. The index twice popped above the high last week before fading. The Nasdaq 100 outperformed as a jump in Tesla Inc. and Nvidia Corp. as well as strong results from online retailer JD.com Inc. powered gains in tech shares. Big banks slid after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. pared stakes in many of the industry’s top names. Boeing Co. weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The relentless rally in stocks has pushed the S&P 500 up more than 50% from its March lows amid large stimulus injections and better-than-expected economic and earnings data. Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Kostin boosted his year-end price target for the gauge to 3,600 from 3,000, citing the firm’s above-consensus U.S. growth expectations keyed off positive news on the vaccine front. He joined the likes of Yardeni Research founder Ed Yardeni and RBC Capital Markets’ Lori Calvasina who’ve raised their forecasts in recent weeks.

“The path of least resistance remains higher for stocks,” Paul Nolte, a portfolio manager at Kingsview Investment Management, wrote in a note. “The easy monetary policy, low interest rates and better economic data have been the fuel pushing stocks ever higher. Many of the historical supports, like earnings and strong balance sheets do not matter today. The speculative fervor has investors in its grip.”

A gauge of builder sentiment jumped to 78, a six-point gain from July that pushed it to the highest since 1998, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Market Index. The August number was better than the median analyst estimate of 74 and matched an all-time record in 35 years of the survey.

Yet chances for a deal in Congress on a new, comprehensive stimulus package before September diminish with each passing day. Democrats and Republicans are focused on their party presidential nominating conventions this week and next. Meanwhile, the almost daily drumbeat of tensions between the U.S. and China shows little sign of letting up, while touching on everything from the coronavirus to trade to defense issues to monetary policy.

Room for More

“Don’t bet against this bull market just yet,” Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial LLC, said in a blog post about U.S. stocks. This year marked the 10th time that the S&P 500 peaked with a 100-day gain of more than 25% since the index debuted in 1957, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. After the earlier highs, the S&P 500 rose an average of 8.8% in the next 12 months. The index advanced all but once, in 1987-88.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Earnings include Walmart Inc. and Home Depot Inc. on Tuesday. Target Corp. and Nvidia report on Wednesday. Results from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Qantas Airways Ltd. are due Thursday.
  • Minutes of the latest FOMC meeting are due Wednesday.
  • The EIA’s crude oil inventory report comes out Wednesday.
  • The Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee — the panel that reviews the OPEC+ agreement — is due to meet on Wednesday.
  • U.S. jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 15 are due Thursday.
  • China’s loan prime rate is due Thursday.
  • Euro-area PMIs will be released on Friday.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 climbed 0.4% as of 1:50 p.m. New York time.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.3%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.3%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.2%.
  • The euro advanced 0.2% to $1.1867.
  • The Japanese yen appreciated 0.6% to 106.01 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined four basis points to 0.67%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield decreased three basis points to -0.45.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield decreased three basis points to 0.217%.

Commodities

  • The Bloomberg Commodity Index climbed 1.4%.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 1% to $42.44 a barrel.
  • Gold strengthened 2% to $1,984.91 an ounce.
Gallery

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