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Still Waiting for that New S&P High

By Zacks Investment ResearchStock MarketsAug 13, 2020 09:15PM ET
Still Waiting for that New S&P High
By Zacks Investment Research   |  Aug 13, 2020 09:15PM ET
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The S&P made another attempt at a new high on Thursday, but couldn’t close the deal and ended lower for the second time in the past three days.

The index came into this session less than 6 points away from a record close… and momentarily pushed through that mark of 3386.15 from February 19. But the upward momentum didn't last.

It finished lower by 0.20% to 3373.43, so there's still only a deficit of about 13 points.

The Dow never saw any green on Thursday, though it did come off its lows and finish with a loss of only 0.29% (or around 80 points) to 27,896.72.

The S&P and Dow recently had seven-day winning streaks each after going wall-to-wall green in the first week of August, but now they’ve had two losing sessions in the past four days.

The NASDAQ, however, advanced 0.27% (or about 30 points) to 11,042.50. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) each gained more than 1% as the stay-home names outperformed the recovery plays.

Apple also set a new record today.

Meanwhile, we got some very encouraging news on the jobs front. For the first time in the covid era, jobless claims were under 1 million! That breaks 20 consecutive weeks of being above that disheartening level.

The report said 963,000 claims were filed last week, which was significantly better than expectations for 1.1 million.

That's the second solid jobs number in the past week. Last Friday, the Government Employment Situation stated that 1.7 million jobs were added in July, which also surpassed forecasts.

Despite today’s ho-hum session, the major indices each move into Friday’s session with gains for the week. In fact, the Dow is up by well over 1%.

So what do you think happens first? The S&P climbs 13 points from here and reaches a new record, or Congress passes a coronavirus relief package?

OK… dumb question.

Today's Portfolio Highlights:

Surprise Trader: The portfolio added a name on Thursday that offers exposure to the stay-home economy, as well as China’s burgeoning middle class. Autohome (ATHM) is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) online destination for automobile consumers. The company has yet to officially confirm its earnings date, but Dave says it could be anytime now. ATHM heads toward that release with an Earnings ESP of 1.96%. The editor added the stock with a 12% allocation today, while also selling Benefitfocus (NASDAQ:BNFT) for a small gain. The complete commentary has more on these moves. By the way, Revolve Group (NYSE:RVLV) was added just 24 hours ago and it's already the top performer of the day. The e-commerce fashion company reported earnings after the bell yesterday that easily beat expectations, which helped the stock soar more than 22% in today's session.

TAZR Trader: Several analysts believe that Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN) will have lots of opportunity to increase its footprint in digital optical networking systems moving forward, especially with all the troubles surrounding Huawei. Kevin likes to hear of such potential momentum, and also enjoyed INFN’s strong second quarter report that included a 35% earnings beat and a 4% sales outperformance. The company is expected to make a big surge toward profitability next year, so the editor decided to buy it today with a 7% allocation. Read the complete commentary for a detailed look at INFN and to see what those analysts are saying about the company.

Income Investor: "The bulls and the bears are battling it out at critical market levels today as the S&P 500 fights its way towards pre-COVID highs, trading less than a percent below. The Nasdaq 100 has been relentlessly pushing towards continuously new highs despite a growing number of sellers entering the market.

"There appears to be a rotation towards cyclical value names that have underperformed the broader market because of their sizable pandemic exposure. Still, tech bulls have remained persistent buying up every dip the bears throw at them.

"We are trading up to quite frothy valuations in innovation-driven sectors. The market is pricing in a very optimistic economic recovery, and it feels as if equity prices are hanging by a thread. We will need value sectors like financials, industrials, utilities, and energy to start participating materially if the market rally is to continue."
-- Dan Laboe, who's filling in for Maddy this week.

All the Best,
Jim Giaquinto

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Still Waiting for that New S&P High

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