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Bizarro World Market: Indexes Way Up, Oil Way Down

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A day removed from a high-volatility Tuesday and big down-drafts Monday and last Friday, today’s regular trading session was something like looking in a mirror: indexes were up robustly, Utilities and Defense stocks were flat, Oil was down. Financials grew over +4% today. It was like Bizarro World in the markets.

Be that as it may, the Dow gained exactly +2.00% or 652 points, while the S&P 500 grew +2.57% and the Nasdaq swooped up +3.60% or 460 points on the day. Following its positive close yesterday, the small-cap Russell 2000 came in another +2.71% today. This is the first time in five sessions the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq have hit the closing bell in the green.

This is the single-best day of trading on the Nasdaq, now within 20% of its all-time highs last November, since this month a year ago. For the S&P, it’s the best single-day performance since June of 2020! Meanwhile, oil prices per barrel plummeted from recent day highs, with the WTI having its worst day in the market since Thanksgiving Week last year, -11%.

We’ll see if indexes will be able to sustain such near-term positivity, or if we’re set-up for another lawn-mowing when markets commence tomorrow. Snapping a four-day losing streak is great, but will we be able to sustain more than a one-day greening? That will depend on a number of things: clearly the strife in Ukraine and subsequent boycott of Russian goods in most of the rest of the world is at the top of this list.

In addition, tomorrow morning we’ll see both new Jobless Claims data and a fresh look at the February Consumer Price Index (CPI). Month over month is expected to tick up to +0.7% from +0.6% in January; year over year, the specter of +7.8% inflation is 30 basis points above what we saw in a surprisingly high print a month ago. December CPI came in at 7.0%. A core read of 6.0% last month was the highest since August 1982.

Austin, TX-based cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike CRWD toppled earnings and revenue in its Q4 report released after the closing bell. Earnings of 30 cents per share outpaced the Zacks consensus by a solid dime, while $431 million in quarterly sales surpassed the $412 million expected. Guidance for Q1 was raised to 22-24 cents per share (from 19 cents in the Zacks consensus) on $459-465 million in revenues (from $447 million). As a result, the stock has blossomed +13% in late trading, taking a bite out of its -43% from its all-time high.

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