Stock Market Today: Markets Rally for Third Consecutive Day
A decline in jobless claims and other optimistic data points convinced investors to keep their fingers on the 'buy' button Thursday.
Stocks festooned themselves in green for St. Patrick's Day after a slew of economic data releases backed up Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's recent observation that "this is a strong economy."
Initial unemployment filings for the week ended March 12 dipped to 214,000 – well below estimates for 220,000 and the lowest number of claims since the start of the year. Industrial production slowed in February but still improved 0.5% month-over-month, in line with expectations, while last month's housing starts exceeded economists' estimates by expanding at a brisk 6.8% month-over-month.
Oil, which recently fell into bear-market status, also got up off the floor, with U.S. crude oil futures up 8.4% to $102.98 per barrel – a rebound "consistent with our view that the selloff back to pre-Ukraine levels had overshot fundamentals," say Goldman Sachs commodity research analysts.
That helped energy stocks (+3.4%) – led by the likes of Devon Energy (DVN, +9.7%) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY, +9.5%) – spearhead Thursday's broad-market gains, though all 11 S&P 500 sectors closed higher. The major indexes largely traded in lockstep; the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.2% to 34,480, the S&P 500 improved 1.2% to 4,411, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.3% to 13,614.
The green finish was par for the course.
"We'd never suggest investing in this, but St. Patrick's Day is one of the 'most green' days of the year for stocks," says Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial. "The S&P 500 is up 0.37% on average, making it one of the best days of the year."
Other news in the stock market today:
- The small-cap Russell 2000 jumped 1.7% to 2,065.
- Gold futures gained 1.8% to settle at $1,943.20 an ounce.
- Bitcoin edged 0.1% higher to $40,905.66. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m.)
- Dollar General (DG) jumped 4.5% after the discount retailer reported earnings. While DG brought in lower-than-expected revenue of $8.65 billion in its fourth quarter, adjusted earnings of $2.57 per share matched the consensus estimate and the company hiked its quartelry dividend by 31%. Dollar General also said it expects a "challenging first quarter," but is optimistic about its full-year results. "We think DG is well positioned heading into next year due to rising inflation concerns among consumers (about 20% of DG's product assortment is $1 or less)," says CFRA Research analyst Arun Sundaram (Hold). "DG is also accelerating its higher-margin pOpshelf concept, expecting to triple its count next year and have 1,000 locations by FY 25. These new locations will be incremental with its annual Dollar General store openings. We think wage growth, particularly among low-income consumers, will help improve store traffic trends next year and help offset the impact of waning Covid-19 relief."
- Signet Jewelers (SIG) was another post-earnings winner, ending the day up 7.0%. The jewelry retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings of $5.01 per share on $2.8 billion in revenue, more than analysts were expecting. "SIG continues to leverage fixed costs as it continues to grow through acquisitions, as the recently closed acquisition of Diamonds Direct," writes CFRA Research analyst Zachary Warring (Hold). "We do not see this trend changing anytime soon as management continues to look for opportunistic acquisitions."
AI Weighs In on Stocks
Investors have an understandable fascination with skilled stock pickers.
Whether it's Warren Buffett or other billionaires such as Ray Dalio or Daniel Loeb, people want to see what successful investors are buying and selling so they can try to replicate some of their success. (And even when they're not doling out stock picks, these gurus can still provide valuable nuggets of investing wisdom.)
Robot stock pickers are a harder sell – their track records don't go back nearly as far, and they're not exactly relatable – but a few still merit our attention. The analytics platform from Daneflin, which harnesses the power of big data technology and machine learning, is one of them.
This artificial intelligence (AI) system analyzes 900 fundamental, technical and sentiment data points per day for 1,000 U.S.-listed shares and 600 Europe-listed stocks, then generates several stock picks that it views as highly likely to outperform the market over the next 30 to 90 sessions.
In the year-plus that Kiplinger has observed Danelfin's system, its performance has justified continued watch, and that's still the case in 2022 – while the market has dropped nearly 10% between mid-January and mid-March, its top 10 AI-powered selections were off just a fraction of a percent.
So, what does this robot brain say investors should be buying now? Read on as we outline Danelfin's latest high-scoring stocks to watch.