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Stimulus Looking Inevitable, Stocks Up Again

Mark Vickery
·3 mins read

Searching for big-picture guidance earlier in the week, market indexes look to have gained a confident footing in their past two regular sessions, moving upward. In fact, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are currently on track for their best week of gains in the past six. The percentages aren’t huge — S&P +0.80%, Nasdaq +0.50% and Dow +0.43% — but the tone of gains appears stronger than it has in a while.

The small-cap Russell 2000 led market indexes yet again today, up another 1.1% and higher by almost 6% on the week thus far. This is further evidence of positive sentiment among market participants, in that riskier small-cap stocks are being bought through the index’s near-term climb. Usually when small-caps lead the way, investors see markets climbing in their near-term forecasts.

All 11 sectors on the S&P 500 rose this Thursday, led by Energy, which is enjoying a cyclical upswing ahead of winter heating months. WTI Crude on the day rose 3.2%. For Tech, IBM IBM led the way on this morning’s announcement that it will be splitting up its businesses between equipment and services; the Nasdaq is right now just 5% from its all-time high. Housing, Autos, Manufacturing and Airlines all look good heading into the final trading day of the week.

Of course, the reason for all this confidence continues to revolve around congressional stimulus to boost the economy as the persistent coronavirus pandemic continues to hamper the Great Reopening. But as poll numbers continue coming in, and as the General Election is now fewer than four weeks away, even no stimulus agreement ahead of the election is not bringing fear to investors: regardless what happens, stimulus is currently expected to pass shortly thereafter, no matter who wins the election.

Q3 earnings season turns up the heat starting next week, with the Big Banks releasing their quarterly numbers. Financials have tended to underperform other industries on a day-to-day basis as of late, but things may turn around if notable earnings surprises are forthcoming from monetary behemoths like JPMorgan JPM and Citigroup C. This would provide a further boost to market sentiment, even among so much uncertainty these days.

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