Stock Market Today: Nasdaq Hits New High as FAANGs Bare Teeth
The market continued to move higher, led by a rally in Big Tech.
It was a slow start for the major market indexes following Monday's red-hot session, but stocks gained momentum as the day wore on.
The Nasdaq Composite (+0.8% at 14,253) outpaced its peers – and hit a record high – thanks to strong gains in FAANG stocks Apple (AAPL, +1.3%), Amazon.com (AMZN, +1.5%) and Netflix (NFLX, +2.4%). But the S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average weren't far behind, adding 0.5% to 4,246, and 0.2% to 33,945, respectively.
As the markets crept higher, Wall Street got a look at the latest housing data, which showed home prices continued to surge in May, rising 23.6% year-over-year, with the median home price hitting a record high of $350,300. This increase in prices likely kept some potential homebuyers sidelined, as existing home sales declined 0.9% sequentially last month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.8 million units.
"The momentum in home sales has slowed since Q3 of last year, markedly in this quarter, likely weighed down by high demand, strong home price appreciation and limited inventories," says Barclays economist Pooja Sriram.
Investors also heard from Fed Chair Jerome Powell, with today's congressional testimony marking his first appearance since the central bank last week projected higher interest rates in 2023.
Other action in the stock market today:
- The small-cap Russell 2000 gained 0.4% to 2,295.
- 3D printing company 3D Systems (DDD) jumped 27.7% after announcing a parternship with Israeli regenerative medicine firm CollPlant Biotechnologies (CLGN, +12.6%) "for a 3D bioprinted regenerative soft tissue matrix for use in breast reconstruction procedures in combination with an implant." The potential for 3D printing to take on healthcare applications also juiced shares of rivals including Stratasys (SSYS, +11.7%) and ExOne (XONE, +8.2%).
- Plug Power (PLUG), one of a handful of noteworthy earnings reports as the Q1 reporting season comes to a close, shot 14.0% higher despite a disappointing quarterly earnings report. The maker of hydrogen fuel cell systems reported a 12-cent-per-share loss , which was wider than expectations for an 8-cent loss. However, its $72 million in sales were better than the consensus analyst estimate. And the act of simply reporting its earnings were viewed as a step in the right direction; Plug's Q1 report was delayed by accounting issues that were disclosed back in March.
- U.S. crude oil futures receded after yesterday's boom, trickling 0.8% lower to $73.06 per barrel. Prices were hampered by reports that OPEC+ might relax production curbs starting in August.
- Gold futures slipped by 0.3% to settle at $1,777.40 per ounce.
- The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) sank 6.9% to 16.66.
- Bitcoin experienced quite the volatile Tuesday. Prices plunged by as much as 12% to around $28,800 – the cryptocurrency's first trip below $30,000 since late January. However, prices rebounded 13% from those lows to $32,562.71, good for a modest 0.2% fall since Monday. "Bitcoin has a history of precipitous drops followed by setting new all-time highs," says Bankrate.com analyst James Royal. "While there's no guarantee that Bitcoin will recover this time, those who believe in its long-term future may well see this decline as an opportunity to invest more." (Cryptocurrencies trade 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
Gain an Edge in a "Tricky" Trading Environment
Inflation has risen "notably" over the past few months, Powell wrote in prepared remarks to the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. He chalked this up to several factors – supply bottlenecks and increased demand as the economy reopens among them – but said high inflation should be "transitory" and will likely abate as these factors expire.
"This back-and-forth of the inflation debate perhaps presents a view of things to come – and we would caution investors that over the short-run, the trading landscape is likely to remain tricky," says Dan Wantrobski, technical strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
So, how do investors gain an edge in a "tricky" environment?
One way is to delve into the tireless research of the analyst set. Large clusters of bullish pros can help you identify some of the best opportunities for at least the next 12 months – say, these 10 beloved energy stocks, or these top picks within the growth-minded Nasdaq.
We also like to keep up with hedge-fund managers. These institutional investors don’t just have deep research resources – unlike analysts, they also must put their money where their mouths are. These 25 blue-chip stocks are particularly popular among Wall Street's largest investors, but naturally the question is: why? We explain what draws hedge funds to blue chips in general, and explore the bull cases for each individual pick.