Before The Bell - After another strong week for equities, as Wall Street continued to press forward notwithstanding the increasing toll from COVID-19, the stock market got off on the right foot to start another five-day stretch on Monday. This favorable momentum would continue on Tuesday morning, as the leading indexes again would push higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing by more than 300 points in the first several hours of trading. Hopes for strong earnings and expectations of a vaccine to treat the coronavirus gave investors reason for optimism.
The latest advance would not continue in an all-inclusive manner, however, as the NASDAQ, under some pressure in the tech space, would weave in and out of positive territory all morning. As for the Dow, it traded nicely higher for the entire session, as did the S&P 500 Index, as traders took profits in some tech names and increased positions in a succession of beaten-down value stocks. Here, the bank issues, such as Wells Fargo (WFC), outperformed some other groups.
As to other news, oil prices jumped, reaching the commodity's highest level since March, as a stimulus package from the European Union and hopes for a virus breakthrough on the COVID-19 front aided the cause of the bulls. Here, shares of Occidental Petroleum (OXY) gained on the higher crude prices. In individual corporate news, shares of beverage giant Coca-Cold (KO) also rose after the Dow-30 component said that the worst of the pandemic's impact was behind it.
The advance would persist into the mid-afternoon, with the Dow remaining near session highs until we entered the final hour of trading. At that point, the big tech names started to fade again, after the NASDAQ, off for much of the day, had managed to claw its way back into positive territory. The selling in tech and some backtracking in the blue chips would then continue through the final hour of trading, cutting the Dow's uptick just about in half and sending the NASDAQ to a moderate closing loss.
All told, the Dow Industrials would add 160 points, to 26,840, while the S&P 500 would rise five points, but the NASDAQ would shed 87 points, after reaching another record high during the session. In other news, earnings season is heating up and after a mixed performance thus far, the next few days will see the release of earnings from a number of large technology names. Since this group has been in the forefront of the market's most recent surge, a good performance likely will be needed to keep the indexes at these lofty heights.
Finally, after the market closed yesterday, the equity futures nudged somewhat higher in the evening. Now, this morning, the futures are mixed, albeit showing little overall movement heading into the middle session of the week. - Harvey S. Katz, CFA