U.S. stock indexes close higher as beaten-down stocks surge

Published On: July 22, 2020Categories: Stocks & Shares4.6 min read

The Nasdaq Composite Index finished 86.73 points lower at 10,680.36, after hitting an intraday record at 10,839.93

U.S. stock indexes finished higher Tuesday as investors snapped up beaten-down energy and financial stocks amid a slate of corporate earnings reports, including Coca-Cola and Lockheed Martin’s second-quarter results.

Market sentiment was also encouraged by the promise of additional U.S. fiscal stimulus, after the European Union forged a historic budget package aimed at reducing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.59% added 159.53 points, or 0.6%, to end at 26,840.40, after hitting an intrasession peak at 27,025.38, powered by Chevron Corp. CVX, +7.17% and Boeing Co. BA, +2.41% . The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.16% rose 5.46 points, or 0.2%, at 3,257.30, with the energy sector SP500.10, +6.15% rising 6.2% and the financial sector SP500.10, +6.15% up 1.9%, but the technology sector SP500.45, -1.06% capped gains in the broad-market index, off 1.1%, the worst performer among the benchmark’s 11 sectors.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.80% closed 86.73 points, or 0.8%, lower at 10,680.36, ending solidly lower after hitting an intraday record at 10,839.93 near the open.

Despite the pullback, the S&P 500 marked its highest close since Feb. 21. The S&P 500 is 3.8% from its Feb. 19 closing high, while the Dow is off 9.2% from its Feb. 12 all-time closing peak.

Investors staged a tepid rotation to other parts of the stock market on Tuesday, with buyers scooping up downtrodden shares in banks and oil-and-gas producers, which have been battered during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move come a day after the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite delivered its 28th record close of 2020, with Tuesday’s gains helping to lift the S&P 500 out of a range that it has been trading since early June, experts said.

Corporate earnings still look dire when considering the sharp hit many businesses have taken during the pandemic, although they are mostly better-than-feared.

In the cyclical parts of the market, there was pessimism heading into earnings, said Matt Stucky, equity portfolio manager at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management, in an interview. But with growing optimism about potential coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, as well as continuing fiscal and monetary stimulus, Stucky sees a case to be made for downtrodden stocks that have yet to join the Nasdaq at record levels.

While the staying power of the pandemic is unknown, he expects the Federal Reserve and other global central banks to keep their feet “all the way down to the accelerator for a while, which will permeate into equity prices.”

Early Tuesday, the European Union reached an agreement on a €750 billion ($860 billion) coronavirus rescue fund after four days of intense negotiations among officials from the 27-nation bloc. The recovery package comprises €390 billion in grants and the remainder in loans as a part of a compromise with Denmark, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands, which had been reluctant to push for a larger package of funds via grants. The leaders also agreed on a multiyear EU budget of over €1 trillion that will run from next year to 2027.

In the U.S., investors were awaiting developments on another fiscal stimulus plan by Congress as a $600 per-week federal unemployment package is set to expire at the end of the month.

The reports come as a number of corporations are reporting second-quarter results, including Coca-Cola Co. KO, +2.34%, which presented results that were better than expected early Tuesday.

The action on Wall Street comes as the global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed to 14.8 million on Tuesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, and the death toll rose to 610,292. The U.S. has the world’s highest death toll at 141,426, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

Today, you’re seeing optimism around a potential vaccine and also around further economic stimulus, said Mike Skillman, chief executive officer at Cadence Capital. Cyclical industries have seen the most damage from the coronavirus, with revenue down 30-40%, and earnings down even more, he said. But there are a few data points, maybe not enough to draw a conclusion, but perhaps signs that we already have seen the bottom.

On the economic front, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index for June, a composite of 85 indicators, rose to a fresh record 4.11, marking a record high going back to 2000, from a 3.5 in May— representing a level that was raised from the previous May reading. A zero value for the index indicates the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth. The report highlights that some aspects of the economy are attempting to come off its coronavirus lows.

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, also unveiled an $775 billion plan to revive the economy during the pandemic, called the “21st Century Caregiving and Education Workforce,” with a promise to bring 3 million new jobs to workers, while also helping fortify universal child and elder care in the U.S.

Germany’s DAX 188658, +0.84% finished 1% higher on Tuesday after the EU forged its landmark recovery package, the gains for the index of Europe’s largest economy were helping to erase most of the year-to-date losses for the gauge.

Stoxx 600 Europe index SXXP, +0.31% gained 0.3%, while the U.K.’s FTSE UKX, +0.13% picked up 0.1%, but the European benchmarks finished off their best levels.

In Asia, the Nikkei NIK, -0.58% closed 0.7% higher, while China’s CSI 300 gauge 000300, 0.78% added 0.2% after jumping nearly 3%. South Korea’s Kospi 180721, 0.10% rose 1.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.36% gained 2.3%.

Gold futures GCQ20, 0.86% climbed $26.50, or 1.5%, to settle at $1,843.90 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest level for the most-active contract since Sept. 2011. August futures for the U.S. crude benchmark CLQ20, +2.32% surged 2.8%, or $1.15, to finish at $41.96 a barrel, the highest level for a front-month contract since March 5, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, 0.605% edged 1.3 basis points lower to around 0.606%. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields.

In currency markets, the dollar was softening for a second session this week, off 0.7%, against its six major rivals based on trading of the ICE U.S. dollar index. DXY, 0.07%.

About the Author: Jonathan Adams

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