The Nasdaq is on a bull run for the ages. Will the Fed keep the rally going?
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Good morning, Bull Sheeters. The Nasdaq made history yesterday. Again. What records will it set next? That may very well depend on what the Fed has to say later today.
In the meantime, let’s check in on the action.
- Asia’s major indices are mixed in afternoon trade. Shanghai and Hong Kong are down; the Nikkei (0.15%) clings to gains.
- Here’s a data point for those of you piling into airlines stocks and expecting it to take you to the moon: IATA, the airlines trade body, forecasts carriers will lose a combined $84 billion this year, and almost $16 billion next year.
- Asian airlines appear to be the most precarious of the bunch, prompting calls for direct government intervention and/or capital-raising schemes to save the likes of Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and AirAsia.
- The European bourses opened in the green this morning. The bluechip Euro Stoxx 50 edged 0.2% higher in the first minutes of trade.
- It’s been a record year for European sovereign debt. Already, investors have snatched up $1 trillion worth of European bonds, the fastest it’s ever hit that milestone. What could possibly be the reason? Yep, the ECB.
- EU-U.K. trade talks went nowhere last week, and that’s freaking out some eurozone economies which fear a hard Brexit could further batter the region as it struggles to rebound from coronavirus.
- The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures point to a positive open. Of the trio, the Nasdaq was the only one to close in positive territory yesterday, extending its record gains.
- It’s Fed decision day. There will almost certainly be no change on interest rates. Investors will be paying close attention to whether the central bank plans to scale back, or continue to pad its balance sheet. When the Fed gets out its checkbook, stocks typically outperform.
- 🎵 “When you’re sure you’ve had enough/ Of this junk/ Well hang on/ …Cause everybody, HERTZ!” 🎵 All apologies to Michael Stipe, but the story of traders piling into the bankrupt car rental company just makes my heart sing. 🎵 “You are not alone.” 🎵
- Gold is up.
- The dollar is down.
- Crude is falling again, with Brent hovering around $40.50/barrel.
The Nasdaq closed yesterday at 9,953.75. But at around 1:42 pm New York time yesterday, history happened. The tech index topped 10,000, before retreating. By the final bell, it had ratcheted up another all-time high. It’s up nearly 11% on the year.
Today’s chart breaks down the Nasdaq’s incredible run.
Big Tech has weathered the pandemic better than most sectors. And it’s the high-growth FANG stocks that are driving up the broader S&P 500.
In the darkest days of the shutdown, it was Big Tech that kept much of the global economy ticking along. And so the euphoric investor interest in tech stocks makes some sense in a market where logic is hard to find most days.
Okay, there are days in which that enthusiasm might startle the pros. For example, over a recent three-day stretch, the volume of Nasdaq-listed shares trading hands topped 6 billion per day. 6 billion per day. Yes, those count as records too.
Hitting the 10K mark has me a bit nostalgic. I remember when the index first topped 5,000 in March, 2000. I was sitting at my desk in New York, a few blocks from the Twin Towers. It was the height of the dot-com boom and I was writing for The Industry Standard, a mag that was growing fat on ad pages of e-commerce solution providers and portal plays and banner-ad designers and clicks-measuring outfits. This was before Amazon had made its first profit. Before Google had gone public. Before the iPhone, and before 4G, let alone 5G.
We all know what happened next. The bubble popped, and the Nasdaq sunk. It took 15 years for the Nasdaq to climb back to 5,000. It’s taken a little over five years to add another 5K on top of that.
So, who’s got a bet on Nasdaq 20K?
Have a nice day, everyone. The incomparable Rey Mashayekhi will take the keys to Bull Sheet tomorrow and Friday. I’ll see you here next week.
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Calling the resistance. There's growing consensus the S&P 500 rally is reaching—if it hasn't already hit—its upper limits. Marc Chaikin, founder of quantitative investment research firm Chaikin Analytics, sees the S&P ceiling at 3,300. Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, is even more cautious, pegging the benchmark's top at 3,250.
Here's why the markets are going up... There's actually a perfectly sensible explanation to the great disconnect between the equities market and the global economy, Fortune's Geoff Colvin explains. "As stock indexes rise or fall in the months ahead, it’s worth remembering that indexes don’t pretend to be anything more than what they are, a gauge of investor sentiment." Exhibit A: the Nasdaq.
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The globe-spanning stocks rally from the March low until now has been a monster. A $21 trillion monster. However, there's some disagreement over whether it's a true bull run or a bear market bounce. Here's why some markets observers look at the data and don't like what they see.