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I left my keyboard at 11:30 this morning to go for a walk in my neighborhood. The temperature was near 60 degrees in New York City. The sun was out. Restaurants with outdoor space were full. Columbia and Barnard students were out in skirts and even a few tank tops. There seemed to be more folks on the street than in recent days.

I returned to work with spirits high. Ready to buy a stock or two. (I added some Disney (DIS) call options for June 18 at a strike of $200.) Confident that the worst of the pandemic was behind us. (Whether that’s true or not is a matter for a colder and rainier day.) Ready to believe that the economy and life were on the road back to normal.

Don’t discount the role of “animal spirits,” the optimism that comes with warmer weather, a return to the outdoors, and an end to some (or in some states all) pandemic restrictions in moving stocks.

Optimism resulting from just these transient atmospheric facts does influence the way that we read economic and market news. The coming of spring and summer is one reason (improvement in the real economy is another–there is a real “vaccine recovery” underway) that in my Special Report on the Stages of the Market in 2021 I posited that the market would trend upward until July or whenever the Federal Reserve decided to derail the rally with an announcement that the central bank would soon begin to cut the size of its $120 billion a month in bond purchases.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 1.04% today, March 11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged ahead 0.58%. The technology sector continued to rebound with the NASDAQ Composite up 2.52% and the NASDAQ 100 gaining 2.31%. The small cap Russell 2000, the most economically sensitive of the major indexes these days, moved higher by 2.31%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) rose 3.15%.

The character of the current market was indicated by the performance today of sector ETFs. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) with a 2.14% climb out gained the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) with its 0.29% loss. Consumer staples (XLP), the consumer sector of choice in anxious markets, fell 0.23% while the more aggressive discretionary consumer sector (XLY) picked up 1.53%. The best place to be today was in what I’d call growth commodity stocks that will participate in the economic recovery but that provide a hedge against inflation. Shares of Southern Copper (SCCO) gained 4.09%; Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) was higher by 8.73%; and First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF) climbed 7.26%.