Stock Market Today: Nasdaq, S&P 500 Hit New Highs to Start Packed Trading Week

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Stocks kicked off what will be a headline-packed week with largely positive action Monday that pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite into record territory.

“This week will be full of catalysts which will include: over one-third of companies in the S&P 500 announcing earnings (that number is much higher when viewed as % of market-cap), a Fed rate decision and … the first look at Q1 GDP and inflation data,” says Michael Reinking, NYSE senior market strategist.

Monday was data-light, however; headline durable-goods orders rebounded in March after a February drop but came in below estimates.

Chip stocks including Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, +3.2%) and Qualcomm (QCOM, +2.6%) lifted the Nasdaq by 0.9% to a record close at 14,138.

The S&P 500 (+0.2% to 4,187) also eked out a new high, with a boost from energy names such as Schlumberger (SLB, +2.5%) and APA (APA, +2.6%).

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average wasn’t quite so fortunate, finishing Monday with a 0.2% loss to 33,981.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • Spotify (SPOT, +4.9%) jumped today on news the audio-streaming service is planning on raising prices on some of its subscriptions, with a price hike on its U.S. family plan coming as soon as this Friday.
  • (AMZN, +2.0%) rose solidly, but not on solid news. Instead, AMZN got a lift from the rumor mill today, with shares popping on unconfirmed buzz about a possible stock split – one that theoretically would be announced during its Q1 earnings report, due out after Thursday’s close.
  • American Express (AXP, +4.2%) managed to brush off broader weakness in the Dow. The stock gained ground as several analysts hiked their price targets after the company reported better-than-expected Q1 profits last Friday.
  • U.S. crude oil futures fell 0.4% to settle at $61.91 per barrel.
  • Gold futures gained 0.1% to finish at $1,780.10 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gained 2.7% to close at 17.80.
  • Bitcoin prices sank by 4.8% to $52,967. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

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A Surge in Small-Cap Strength

Leading the way today was the “little guy,” with the small-cap Russell 2000 jumping 1.2% to 2,298. Reinking notes that “the Russell’s outperformance is emblematic of some broader risk-on trading behavior seen not only in equities but in other asset classes as well.”

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And there’s reason to believe that behavior will continue in the midst of America’s economic recuperation.

“Since 2009, the risk-on cycle has repeated every three to four years. We have observed significant returns in small-cap stocks, cyclical sectors and low-valuation companies, relative to the S&P 500 Index, during the first year of a risk-on cycle,” says Chao Ma, global portfolio and investment strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

We’ve recently highlighted a selection of growth-oriented small caps that investors can use to leverage this continuing trend. Today, however, we take a fresh look at 11 small-cap stocks that analysts were bullish on at the start of 2021. The good news? All but one of those picks – which range from high-octane biotechs to real estate plays with market-topping yields – remain buys.

Kyle Woodley was long AMZN as of this writing.

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