September 28, 2023


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Stocks rally to cap best month since November 2020

Stocks rally to cap best month since November 2020

U.S. stocks rallied Friday to cap a three-day winning streak and finish off the best month for the S&P 500 since November 2020.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 1.4%, the Dow gained 1%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 1.9%.

Friday’s close also marked the final trading day of the month, with the benchmark S&P rising 9.2% during July while the Nasdaq gained 13% during the month. This rally marked the Nasdaq’s biggest monthly gain since July 2020.

The rally caps a month that saw inflation data hit another 41-year high, GDP contract for the second-straight quarter, and the Fed raise interest rates by another 0.75%.

Expectations from investors that slowing inflation and slowing growth could push the Fed to ease plans to ratchet up interest rates bolstered equities throughout the month.

“The biggest takeaway for me on events of this week? Convincing and arguably decisive evidence the ‘bottom is in’ — the 2022 bear market is over,” said Tom Lee, managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat.

On Friday, earnings from tech companies were again in focus giving the sector a lift into the weekend.

Amazon (AMZN) and Apple (AAPL) were among the day’s biggest winners, with Amazon gaining over 10% following a second quarter earnings report Thursday night that was better than feared.

“Despite continued inflationary pressures in fuel, energy, and transportation costs, we’re making progress on the more controllable costs we referenced last quarter, particularly improving the productivity of our fulfillment network,” Andy Jassy, Amazon CEO, said in a statement following earnings.

With Friday’s rally, Amazon shares nearly closed the gap lower suffered following the company’s disappointing first quarter report in late April. In July, Amazon shares gained 27%, their biggest monthly rally since October 2009.

Apple shares were also higher on Friday, gaining just over 3% following a quarterly report that showed revenue totaled $83 billion in its fiscal third quarter, a company record for the quarter.

“Our June quarter results continued to demonstrate our ability to manage our business effectively despite the challenging operating environment. We set a June quarter revenue record and our installed base of active devices reached an all-time high in every geographic segment and product category,” Apple CFO Luca Maestri said in a statement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook poses in front of a new MacBook Airs running M2 chips display during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S. June 6, 2022. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva

Apple CEO Tim Cook poses in front of a new MacBook Airs running M2 chips display during Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S. June 6, 2022. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva

Things weren’t all positive in the tech space, however, with shares of Roku (ROKU) losing 23.1% after disappointing quarterly results as the streaming player continues to deflate from its pandemic highs reached in early 2021. Shares of Roku are down about 85% over the last 18 months.

Shares of Intel were also down big on Friday, falling 8.5% after a quarter that widely missed expectations on what CEO Pat Gelsinger called a “very sharp economic swing.”

The market’s rally in the face of negative news from individual companies shows how sentiment has shifted in the last several weeks.

Still, not all investors are on board with the view that this signals an “all clear” as traders continue to nurse wounds from the worst first half of a year since 1970.

“At this point, the market has rebounded over 10% from the mid-June lows,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Trust. “But, given an ongoing slowdown in the economy and earnings risks, our view is that the S&P 500’s near-term upside is limited in the 3% to 6% range (4200-4300) from its current level near 4070.”

“Near the mid-June lows, we discussed that we would not be selling equities given how oversold the market had become,” Lerner added. “However, with the strong equity rebound since then and our view that the near-term upside is capped, for those investors who are over-allocated to equities relative to their long-term targets, this would be a more reasonable place to trim exposure.”

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