Stocks rallied today and bond prices moved higher (sending bond yields lower) on news that China People’s Bank and the European Central Bank would both pursue monetary moves to bolster growth.
The People’s bank reduced the amount of cash that banks have to hold in reserve by 0.5 percentage points. That will send about 1 trillion yuan ($154 billion) in liquidity into the economy. The reduction in the reserve ratio was larger than most economists had projected. China is set to announced second quarter GDP figures in the coming week and the strength and accelerated timing of the move fed speculation that the numbers will show weaker than expected economic growth.
The European Central Bank shifted its inflation target to 2% rom the prior “below, but close to, 2%.” The move signaled that the ECB, like the U.S. Federal Reserve, would be willing to tolerate higher inflation in the short term rather than endanger economic growth by raising interest rates.
The central banks move–plus a week of selling of cyclical stocks, led to a solid rally today. The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 1.13% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day higher by 1.30%. The NASDAQ Composite and the NASDAQ 100 were also higher but technology stocks took a backseat in today’s gains to shares of economic recovery and commodity stocks.
The small cap Russell 2000, which has been the index most sensitive to shifts in sentiment about the strength of economic growth, gained 2.17% on the day.
Commodity stock winners included lithium producer Albemarle (ALB) up 4.53%; and copper miners Southern Copper (SCCO, First Quantum Minerals (FQVLF) and Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) gained 3.64%, 3.21%, and 5.22%, respectively.
Cyclical gainers included Caterpillar (CAT) up 2.50%, Dow (DOW) up 2.72%, and Deere (DE) up 1.72%.
Post-vaccine recovery movers included Macy’s (M) up 6.87%, MGM Resorts International (MGM) up 3.20%, and American Airlines (AAL) up 2.65%.
Bank stocks did well ahead of earnings reports that begin next week on July 13 with Citigroup (C) up 2.58%, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) up 3.20%, Wells Fargo (WFC) up (3.76%), Bank of America up 3.25%, and U.S. Bancorp (USB) up 3.51%.
Gains for technology stocks were muted with Microsoft (MSFT), for instance up just 0.19% and Amazon (AMZN) actually down 0.32% on the day. Apple (AAPL) gained 1.31%. The company is scheduled to report earnings for the June quarter on July 29. Wall Street analysts project earnings of 99 cents a share, up from 64 cents a share in the June 2020 quarter. Last quarter Apple delivered a 40% earnings surprise over Wall Street projections.