Today, Monday, September 28, as of 1:15 p.m. New York time the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 1.60% to trade at 3352.78.
Along with Friday’s 1.60% gain in the index, I think that shows the market’s downward momentum stalled for the moment. Only for the moment, though, since there’s just so much pending news that could move stocks one way or another. It might be most accurate to say that the market is paused and poised.
Today’s gain so far brings the S&P 500 back to just below the 50-day moving average at 3353.49. The recovery from the near correction turns this former support level at the 50-day moving average into resistance.
The advance today has been across sectors. As of 1:15 p.m. in New York the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK) was up 1.56% and the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) was up 2.86%. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) was higher by 3.06%. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY) had gained 2.13% and the Consumer Staples Selection Sector SPDR (XLP) was up 1.62%.
Helping the gains (especially in energy and materials) has been a drop in the U.S. dollar. As of 1:15 the Dollar Spot Index (DXY) was off 0.36%. That, for today, puts an end to a run of extraordinary strength in the dollar that has seen the Dollar Spot Index climb 2.02% from August 31 through September 25. (The index is still down 2.24% for 2020 to date as of September 25.)
A weaker dollar on the day has lead to a pick up in oil prices with the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate gaining 0.60% on the day as of 1:15 p.m. and international benchmark Brent up 0.88%. Gold has also picked up as the dollar has weakened with gold on the Comex for December delivery gaining 0.65%.
That has pushed gold stocks such as Barrick Gold (GOLD) up 0.60% so far today and the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) ahead by 1.57% and the VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) higher by 2.30%.
How long might today’s weakness in the dollar might last?
A lot of traders have been betting against the dollar and it didn’t look like there was a lot of buying to cover those shorts last week. Today’s pull back in the dollar undoubtedly makes some of those dollar shorts more comfortable with their exposure and hence less inclined to buy to cover (which would drive up the dollar and produce the resumption of downward trends in gold, oil, copper and other dollar-denominated commodities.)
But the “decider” is the direction of the euro (the euro makes up 58% of the Dollar Spot Index.) Another surge in euro weakness on what is really disheartening news about an acceleration in coronavirus infections in Europe (and reports of large demonstrations against masks, business shutdowns, and other public health measures) would send the dollar back up, and gold,copper, and oil back down.
At the close the market gave back a bit of the day’s gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for example, closed up 1.51% instead of the 1.73% gain as of 1:15 p.m. The Russell 2000 small cap index ended the day up 2.40% instead of the 2.52% gain at 1:15.
But tomorrow? As they say, Tomorrow is another day.