It may not be a September to remember, but markets attempted to staunch the bleeding Monday, as the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all posted strong gains to start the week.
The Dow closed up 1.51% at 27,584.06, the S&P 500 was up 1.61% to 3351 and the Nasdaq gained 1.87% to close at 11117.53. Bank stocks had a banner day, with JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all rose more than 2%. Energy stocks were also up, a sign that investors were feeling more comfortable moving into cyclical sectors which have remained beaten down in recent months.
Though markets also rallied Friday, that came on the heels of four straight weeks of losses, making September live up to its reputation as a rough month for investors.
So what drove Monday’s gains? Investors are still desperately hoping for another stimulus deal, and there appear to at least be signs that both parties will be reopening negotiations this week. When talks broke down earlier this summer, Democratic and Republican leaders were still $900 billion apart when it came to the size of the overall package.
But with Trump’s $300 weekly benefits expiring, there is new pressure for both sides to reach a deal. Last week Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell both told Congress during a hearing that they believed more stimulus was necessary to help the economy recover. According to CNBC, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich) asked point blank: “Yes or no, do you believe another stimulus check could help stabilize the economy?” “I do,” Mnuchin said. “The administration does support another stimulus payment.”
In a note Monday, Charlie Ripley, Senior Investment Strategist for Allianz Investment Management wrote that, “The strong fiscal support that helped the economy quickly get back on its feet looks to be wearing out. From an economic standpoint, third quarter GDP will likely be the highest growth rate on record, but not enough for annualized GDP to be positive for the year.” He pointed to slowing retail sales data for July, a drop in consumer confidence as measured by the Conference Board, a spike in virus cases and the elevated unemployment rate and stalemate on Capitol Hill as cautionary signs for the overall economy.
As for tech stocks, Jeff Buchbinder, Equity Strategist for LPL Financial noted that with the S&P’s Technology Sector Index having pulled back 13% from September 2-25, this could be a buying opportunity. “Pullbacks in uptrends have historically represented opportunities, and this may be the case with the technology sector. Technology has represented the most consistent area of relative strength for the S&P 500, not just year to date, but for the past decade, and the recent decline does little to change that long-term picture,” Buchbinder wrote.
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