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Markets Cooler on a Slower News Day

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Markets spent a tepid day in the first trading session of this week, with a dearth of earnings results or economic reports hitting the tape, or at least with anything like the size and scope we’ve seen in the past few weeks. The Dow, which spent a good portion of this morning up a good amount — +336 points at the intraday high — barely finished in the green: +0.049%.

For the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, this marked the second higher close in the past three trading days, and both outperformed the Dow: the S&P grew +0.31% today and the tech-heavy Nasdaq +0.40%. For its part, the small-cap Russell 2000 split the difference: +0.37% on the day.

Amazon AMZN spent its first day following a 20-to-1 stock split, and investors seemed pretty happy with this: the stock gained +2% on the day today, just below $125 per share. Twenty-five years ago or so, stock splits were very common — they helped entry-level investors buy shares of some of their favorite companies at affordable prices, while long-term holders were happy to reap multiples off their previous investment.

Alphabet GOOGL also plans a 20-for-1 split to take effect mid-July; currently, its share price is north of $2330. And if it’s a successful means for gaining new investment blood, we can expect companies — especially those who’ve seen huge run-ups in share price over the past 20 years — to follow suit. Just don’t expect Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) to be one of them.

Apple AAPL made public its foray into the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) space at its Worldwide Developers Conference today. It’s an expansion of Apple Wallet capabilities, giving customers the option to spread out full payment four installments over six weeks, using Apple technology. While Apple shares grew modestly on the news, big players in the BNPL space, such as Affirm AFRM, fell -5.5% on the news. We shall see if the conference will continue to focus on service-related Apple products or if it will pivot to new and/or updated gadgets.

Otherwise, tomorrow morning we can expect a Foreign Trade Balance for April to pull back from its record deficit -$109.8 billion to around -$90 billion, back where it was in the January and February prints. We’ll also see a Consumer Credit print for April which is also likely to take a step downward to $35 billion from $52 billion in the prior month’s release.

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