Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: Stocks Snap Skid But Suffer Weekly Loss

The market enjoyed widespread gains Friday, with everything from growthy tech to defensive utilities enjoying in the rally.

The major indexes finished solidly in the green Friday, but those gains weren't enough to prevent the stock benchmarks from ending in the red on a weekly basis.

Today's broad-based advance was led primarily by the technology (+1.3%) and utilities (+1.2%) sectors; even the energy sector stabilized, rising 0.2% despite a 2.2% decline in U.S. crude oil futures to $62.32 per barrel. Friday's action marked the seventh straight down session for crude, bringing its weekly loss to roughly 9%.

A dearth of economic data on the calendar allowed investors to focus on buying the dip, while an appearance by Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Fox Business' "Mornings with Maria" might also have boosted sentiment. The typically hawkish central banker called the COVID-19 delta variant "the big imponderable," and said he might "adjust" his outlook should it begin to negatively impact the economy.

The Nasdaq Composite added 1.2% to 14,714, the S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 4,441 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% to 35,120.

For the week, however, the Nasdaq slipped 0.7%, the S&P gave back 0.6% and the Dow slumped 1.1%.  

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Other news in the stock market today:

  • Cloud-based data storage firm Snowflake (SNOW, -4.6%), a Warren Buffett holding, dipped following a note from Cleveland Research warning about competition from Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and noting that the firm's partners "are seeing sales cycles elongate on increased competition from hyperscalers."
  • Nvidia (NVDA, +5.1%) climbed for a second consecutive day following a second-quarter earnings beat.
  • Gold futures eked out a marginal gain to settle at $1,784.00 per ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dropped sharply, retreating 14.6% to 18.51.
  • Bitcoin prices had a fruitful day, advancing 4.2% to $48,655.32. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.) 
stock chart for 082021

YCharts

Will Small Caps Get Back Into Shape?

Friday also offered relief for investors in smaller companies. The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 (+1.7% to 2,167) outperformed the major indexes through the first quarter of 2021 amid sky-high, vaccine-fueled hopes for a robust economic rebound. However, delta variant concerns have since cooled off the small-stock barometer, causing it to lag its larger-cap peers for months.

But some observers say an opportunity in smaller firms may be arising once more.

"From our view, this cyclical and small-cap underperformance is a temporary stumble," says Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. "The strong labor market recovery is producing gains in hours worked and wages, which should combine for rising income and spending. We see the delta variant as not leading to the severe level of lockdowns that the initial COVID surge produced. And we do not expect the upcoming tapering process to disrupt markets or the economy. Continue to lean into the recovery."

Wall Street’s stock-picking pros have sounded off too, giving their seals of approval to a number of small-cap stocks, thanks to their generally superior growth prospects. Happily, small caps can offer much more than just growth. For example, these six companies bring a considerable income proposition to the table as well.

The small-cap space also offers a wealth of options for value investors. True, these 10 small-cap value stocks might struggle if America's COVID issues persist, but they’re also spring-loaded for outperformance once the country appears poised to turn the tables for good.

Kyle Woodley was long NVDA as of this writing.

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