Stock Market Today: Russell 2000 Leads Again as Dow, S&P Churn

The rally in small-cap stocks continued Tuesday, putting the Russell 2000 Index within a whisper of its all-time high.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Small-cap stocks continued to shine Tuesday, with the Russell 2000 climbing 1.1% to 2,343 – putting it within striking distance of its March 15 record high of 2,360.

Among the names elevating the small-cap index was Stitch Fix (SFIX (opens in new tab), +14.1%), which popped after the online styling service reported a slimmer-than-expected per-share loss and stronger-than-forecast revenues. Workhorse Group (WKHS (opens in new tab), +11.8%) and Casper Sleep (CSPR (opens in new tab), +16.2%) were among other the Russell's other massive gainers.

Also grabbing the spotlight was mid-cap Clover Health Investments (CLOV (opens in new tab), +85.8%) – the "meme stock" du jour – more than doubling in price at its session peak today.

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While small caps and meme stocks made big moves, it was another muted session for the blue-chip indexes, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining marginally to 34,599 and the S&P 500 gaining less than a point to 4,227.

"The S&P has been relatively quiet thus far [this week], trading in a tight range ahead of [Thursday's consumer price index inflation update] that may shed light on future Fed positioning," says Dan Wantrobski, technical strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. "But the macro landscape remains ripe with potential headline risk – any of which could trigger bigger moves ahead and break the index out of its current range."

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Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3% to 13,924.
  • SFIX wasn't the only earnings mover today, with Marvell Technology (MRVL (opens in new tab), +5.1%) higher in the wake of its quarterly report. The chipmaker reported revenues and earnings per share above what analysts were expecting, and gave an upbeat forecast for the current quarter.
  • Generac Holdings (GNRC (opens in new tab), +6.3%) got a lift today after KeyBanc upgraded the power generator producer to Overweight from Sector Weight (equivalents of Buy and Neutral, respectively). Analysts said GNRC is likely to benefit from grid-stability issues, and that a recent pullback creates an attractive valuation for the large-cap stock (opens in new tab).
  • U.S. crude oil futures jumped 1.2% to end at $70.05 per barrel after the Energy Information Administration raised its 2021 West Texas Intermediate oil price forecast by 5% to $61.85 per barrel. This was the first close above the $70-per-barrel mark for crude oil futures since October 2018.
  • Gold futures slipped 0.2% to finish at $1,894.40 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) moved 4% higher to 17.08.
  • Bitcoin's slide continued, with the digital currency declining 7.7% to $32,968.05. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

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(Image credit: YCharts)

Housing Keeps Delivering the Heat

The housing sector (+0.6%) was also a pocket of strength on a mixed day. This outperformance from homebuilders is just more of the same in 2021 amid a red-hot housing market (opens in new tab).

"Demand for housing climbed higher in the months following the onset of the pandemic," say economists at BofA Global Research. "This has left builders to scramble to respond. The result: home prices and building costs (opens in new tab) have surged higher."

It's not only home prices that have soared (+13% year-over-year in May); valuations for housing stocks have jumped, too. And with the housing shortfall in the U.S. now at nearly 4 million homes, according to mortgage-finance firm Freddie Mac, homebuilders and housing-related stocks could have more room to run.

We've compiled a list of housing stocks that could see more tailwinds from the extreme imbalance in supply and demand. This group features several traditional homebuilders, as well as other companies providing products and services within the housing space.

Karee Venema
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger.com

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is an investing editor and options expert at Kiplinger.com. She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.