Stock Market Today: Tech Takes the Reins as Stocks Soar Again
The technology sector was the day's biggest gainer on strength in semiconductor stocks.
Stocks saw a second straight day of sharp gains as Wall Street continued to bet that the omicron variant of COVID-19 will be less disruptive than investors initially feared.
While today's rally was broad-based, growth-oriented sectors like energy (+2.3%) and consumer discretionary (+2.3%) saw some of the biggest gains.
However, tech (+3.5%) led the way, with semiconductor stocks Nvidia (NVDA, +8.0%) and Applied Materials (AMAT, +6.5%) among two of the day's biggest advancers. CFRA Research analyst Sam Stovall thinks tech's surge has legs, and lifted his outlook on the sector to Overweight (Buy).
In addition to the omicron-induced selloff having "likely run its course," Stovall says the recent "pullback in prices" has made "the group more attractive relative to other sectors."
Investors certainly showed a willingness to buy the dip today. At the close, the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.0% at 15,686, the S&P 500 Index was 2.1% higher at 4,686 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 1.4% to end at 35,719.
Other news in the stock market today:
- The small-cap Russell 2000 soared 2.3% to 2,253.
- U.S. crude oil futures jumped 3.7% to $72.05 per barrel.
- Gold futures also headed higher, up 0.3% to $1,784.70 an ounce.
- Bitcoin prices rose 3.2% to $50,473.87. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
- One of the few flashes of red today was generated by Comcast (CMCSA, -5.3%), which took a dive after the company produced disappointing broadband subscription figures. On Tuesday, Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said at the UBS Global TMT Virtual Conference that Comcast should add 1.3 million broadband internet customers in 2021, below expectations for 1.4 million. Competitor Charter Communications (CHTR, -3.3%) also dipped on the news.
- AutoZone (AZO, +7.6%) wasn't just caught up in a rising tide – it also delivered a healthy earnings beat. The auto-parts retailer reported first-quarter revenues of $3.67 billion and earnings of $25.69 per share, topping estimates of $3.37 billion and $20.98 per share, respectively. Same-store sales jumped by almost 14%. Despite the good news, CFRA analyst Garrett Nelson maintained his Hold position, but upped his price target to $2,000 per share from $1,925 previously. "The record-high U.S. vehicle age remains a powerful driver of AZO's strong results," he says. "But in our view, AZO will eventually need to provide more information about its long-term plans strategy on the rise of EVs, which require half the maintenance costs of internal combustion engine vehicles and should impact retail aftermarket demand. We maintain Hold on valuation."
Where to Invest in 2022
What a year it has been. "The U.S. economy bounced back from its worst year since the Great Depression in 2020 with one of the best years of growth in nearly 40 years," says Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.
What's more, Detrick and a team of strategists at LPL expect "solid economic and earnings growth in 2022 to help U.S. stocks deliver additional gains next year," with consumers, productivity, small businesses and capital investments all having a role in the "next stage of economic growth."
As for Kiplinger's own forecast, it's for "more-normalized stock market returns," likely in the "high single digits between one and two points in dividends," with a preference for stocks over bonds.
If you want to know more about our thoughts on the year ahead, check out our coverage of where to invest in 2022. Investors will have to pick carefully, but there are certainly plenty of opportunities to be found.