Stock Market Today: A Mega-Cap Tech Stock Added $72 Billion in Value on Monday

The major benchmarks closed higher as a trillion-dollar tech stock soared on bullish analysis.

stock market today
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With little in the way of corporate earnings or economic news to guide them, stocks kicked off the trading week initially searching for direction. A fresh batch of worries out of China's fixed income and real estate markets weighed on the major indexes early Monday, but strength in key tech stocks – and one mega-cap name in particular – helped equities build strength through the session. 

Monday started on a sour note with reports that China's banking regulator would set up a task force to investigate risks at Zhongzhi Enterprise Group after the private-wealth manager missed payments on investment products sold to high-net-worth clients. Market participants were additionally alarmed by news that Country Garden Holdings – formerly China's largest property developer – is looking to extend the maturity on one of its bonds

Mostly, Monday was a low-volume affair, with market participants keenly awaiting more significant developments later this week. 

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The earnings calendar, for example, features a host of major retailers in the days ahead, including Home Depot (HD), Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT). Traders and investors will mine retailer earnings for information about the health of consumer spending, which economists expect to slow in the months ahead. And as Buy-rated Dow Jones stocks, Home Depot, the nation's largest home improvement chain, and Walmart, the world's largest company by revenue, will be in particular focus. 

In upcoming economic news, on Wednesday market participants will perform exegesis on the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting, an event which concluded with a quarter-point rate hike. As of August 14, interest rate traders assigned an 89% probability to the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) leaving interest rates unchanged at the next Fed meeting

"Although most forecasters still predict a recession, we think the runway for a soft landing is in sight," Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, wrote in a note to clients on Monday. "U.S. economic activity remains resilient, the labor market rebalancing is making progress, and the recent CPI and PCE data suggest that disinflation may now be running slightly ahead of schedule."

Nvidia stock steals the show

Markets may have gotten off to a slow start Monday, but one massive tech stock took off and never looked back. Shares in Nvidia (NVDA) soared 7.1% to close at $437.53, adding $72 billion in market value in the process. That's a sum greater than the entire market capitalizations of PayPal (PYPL) or FedEx (FDX). The semiconductor firm specializing in chips that power generative artificial intelligence (AI) ended the session with a market cap of $1.081 trillion. 

Morgan Stanley analyst Joseph Moore sparked Monday's rally in NVDA stock, telling clients that recent weakness offered a classic opportunity to buy the dip. Moore rates NVDA stock at Overweight (the equivalent of Buy), and calls it a top pick heading into earnings. Nvidia is slated to report quarterly results after the bell on August 23.

NVDA has nearly tripled on a price basis so far this year, adding to its luster as one of the best stocks of the past 30 years. Indeed, a mere $1,000 invested in Nvidia stock two decades ago would be worth a small fortune today.

Thanks to help from Nvidia and semiconductor stocks more broadly, the S&P 500 (+0.6% at 4,489) and the Nasdaq Composite (+1.1% at 13,788) closed higher – a welcome change of pace after both benchmarks posted back-to-back weekly losses. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.07% at 35,307) rallied into the close to finish essentially unchanged. 

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Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer,

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate, cost of living indexes and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.