U.S. stocks marched higher Wednesday afternoon, trading near session highs, and on track to bring an end to a three-day selloff that drove the Nasdaq Composite on Tuesday into a correction at the fastest pace in history after closing at a record high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +2.38% rose 672 points, or 2.5%, to trade near 28,173, while the S&P 500 SPX, +2.48% was trading near 3,419, an increase of 87 points, or 2.6%. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +2.81% jumped 322 points, 3%, to 11,170.
The Nasdaq Composite on Tuesday ended with a loss of 465.44 points, or 4.1%, at 10,847.69—marking a pullback of just more than 10% from a record close over three trading sessions for its fastest ever fall from a record into correction territory. The Dow fell 632.42 points, or 2.3%, ending at 27,500.89, while the S&P 500 dropped 95.12 points, or 2.8%, to close at 3,331.84.
What’s driving the market?
Market watchers saw a spate of buying Wednesday, following a three-day rout led by heavy selling in technology and stay-at-home shares that have soared during the pandemic.
“Broadly, the technology sector is leading the recovery,” said James Ragan, director of Wealth Management Research at D.A. Davidson, in an interview with MarketWatch, adding that early signs of a rotation into downtrodden stocks has fizzled out.
“We could say that today, any rotation has stalled out,” he said. “Over the past few months, any time we get a little more strong performance from value groups, its doesn’t really last.”
At the same time, concerns have been mounting that valuations for top performers have gotten euphoric, leaving the market vulnerable to a near-term pullback and more volatile trade.
“Those gains didn’t make a lot of sense,” said Donald Calcagni, chief investment officer with Mercer Advisors, in an interview with MarketWatch. “When you have Amazon trading at 120 times earnings and the economy is contracting 32%, that just doesn’t make sense.”
Calcagni has spent the past several months with a healthy respect for the coronavirus. “If there are businesses, communities, states, that say, to hell with it, let’s reopen, I share that emotion, but people are still getting sick,” he pointed out. “And the reality is that’s going to spook consumers. If the consumer is spooked they’re not going to spend. That’s going to weigh on the economy.”
He calls himself “bearish” over the next few months as those economic headwinds continue and the likelihood of a contested U.S. presidential election looms in November.
In a note out Wednesday, Sean Darby, global head of strategies at Jefferies, wrote, “The past week has seen the U.S. IT sector gripped by its own ‘volatility doom loop’ with the correction in tech share prices forcing an unwanted rise in volatility over the broader market.”
“It appears that investor positioning rather than the usual suspects of wider credit spreads, a stronger dollar etc. is to blame,” said Darby, who warned late last month that investors needed to be prepared for the risk of near-term drawdowns.
Related:When the Nasdaq has had as ugly a start to September as it just had, it has always finished the month lower
On the pandemic treatment front, a trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca PLC AZN, +0.45% AZN, -1.28% was halted. The drugmaker, in what it described as a “routine action,” paused late-stage trials of its vaccine candidate following an unexplained illness in one of the trial volunteers.
Need to Know:Why an approved coronavirus vaccine may not end the pandemic quickly
In politics, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday proposed a new offshoring penalty that would establish a 28% corporate tax rate, plus a 10% “offshoring penalty surtax” on profits on any production by a U.S. company overseas for sales back to the U.S. The current tax rate on such profits is 30.8%. He also called for a 10% tax credit for companies that make investments that create jobs for American workers, such as by revitalizing existing facilities that have been closed, while also proposing a 21% minimum tax on all foreign earnings.
U.S. employers posted more job openings in July but hired fewer workers than in June, the Labor Department reported, as early-summer optimism about reopening businesses faded. There were 6.6 million job openings posted, not far off the pre-pandemic average.
Which companies are in focus?
- Shares of Tesla Inc. TSLA, +7.29% charged 6.5% higher early Wednesday after dropping 21.1% on Tuesday for its largest one-day drop since going public.
- Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU, -9.42% shares were down 9.1% after the athletic apparel company late Tuesday reported results that beat Wall Street estimates.
- Slack Technologies Inc. WORK, -15.50% shares slid more than 15%, despite results late Tuesday that unexpectedly showed the collaboration software company broke even in its latest quarter.
- Shares of Tiffany & Co. TIF, -6.13% slumped 6.8% after LVMH Moet Hennessy MC, -0.08% said it wouldn’t be able to complete the previously announced takeover of the U.S. luxury goods retailer “as it stands.” LVMH cited a letter from the French government asking for a delay in light of the threat of tariffs on French products by the U.S., as well as Tiffany’s request to extend the deadline from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31.
- Snowflake Inc.outlined plans to raise up to $2.74 billion in its initial public offering, which includes orders from Berkshire Hathaway Inc. BRK.B, +1.47% BRK.B, +1.47% and Salesforce.com Inc. CRM, +4.03%, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Tuesday.
- Walmart Inc. WMT, +2.65% shares jumped 2.5% Tuesday after the retailer announced it was testing a drone delivery program.
How are other markets trading?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 0.704% was up 2 basis point at 0.70% as investors prepared for a heavy week of supply that could push prices lower. Bond prices move inversely to yields.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.16%, which tracks the performance of the greenback against its major rivals, was down 0.2% to 93.26, reversing earlier gains.
Gold futures GCZ20, +0.53% rose 0.6% to $1,954 an ounce. U.S. crude oil benchmark futures CL.1, +3.67% jumped 3.9% to $38.22 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent crude BRN.1, +2.66% was up 2.9% to $40.95, putting it back over the key $40 a barrel threshold, despite questions about the demand outlook.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +1.62% was 1.6% higher, while the U.K.’s benchmark FTSE UKX, +1.12% gained 1.4%. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, -0.63% fell 0.6% to close at 24,468.9, while Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -1.03%, settled at 23,032.5, down 1%.
William Watts contributed reporting
Originally published on MarketWatch