After looking like it was over earlier in the week with a significant pull back on Tuesday, July 26, stocks have rallied in the last two days, gaining 3.85% by the Thursday, July 28 close from that Tuesday low.
And right now all the ducks are lined up in a row for a strong move higher. (But you know what they say about Bear Market rallies right? They’re really hard to trade and they’re even harder to sell into.)
Strong (well, stronger than expected, anyway) tech earnings from Apple (AAPL) and Amazon (AMZN) on Thursday that build on good results from Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet (GOOG). One particularly oud quack from this duck: Both Apple and Amazon shares were up only modestly during regular trading (gaining 0.36% and 1.08%, respectively) but then turned in much stronger performances in the after-hours season with Apple up 2.97% and Amazon ahead 13.62%. That sets up the possibility of a strong catch-up move in technology shares tomorrow, Friday.
A huge move in global climate change stocks on news that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who had effectively blocked Democratic spending on climate change, struck an out-of-nowhere deal with Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer on a $370 billion deal that would send tens of billions to electric cars, wind and solar power, and other programs that promise to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 40%. (The price was a provision that locks in increased future oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.) The bill is especially generous to hydrogen technologies, a Manchin favorite. So Plug Power (PLUG), the most prominent U.S. player in the hydrogen space, saw shares soar 25.90%. Electric vehicle charging stocks galloped higher with EvGo (EVGO) up 12.90% and ChargePoint (CHPT) up 16.44%. Wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems (VWDRY) gained 15.26% and solar system installer Sunrun (RUN) was higher by 29.97%. There should be more upside in this sector to provide fuel to the Bear Market rally.
Positive news on U.S. GDP. Strange but true. The 0.2% month-over-month drop in U.S. GDP reported this morning strikes a significant number of investors as good news. They see it as evidence that the recession will be mild but enough to scare the Federal Reserve into ending its program of higher interest rates earlier rather than later. Fed chair Jerome Powell’s comments after the Fed’s Wednesday meeting–promising that the Fed would pay attention to the data before deciding on the size of any increase in interest rates at the central bank’s September meeting plays into their optimistic economic scenario.
Some “influential” bread and butter stocks participated in today’s move higher with, for example, Starbucks (SBUX) up 2.06% and ShakeShack (SHAK) gaining 7.49%. To continue its run a Bear Market rally has to pull in a wider set of stocks.
Friday is often a day when investors and traders decide to sell to lock in profits and cut risk ahead of the weekend, but not this week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 1.42% and the NASDAQ Composite climbed 1.88%. To me, it looks like we’ve got enough fuel for a Bear Market rally that could run into next week.
My advice right now is to enjoy the ride, if we get one, for the next week or so, but also look for stocks to sell into the rally. I’d begin my list of stocks to think about selling with shares of companies exposed to the still-unfolding economic slowdown.
Thursday’s report of a contraction in U.S. GDP can be seen as a positive in some scenarios, but the numbers still show a real slowdown in the U.S. economy as higher interest rates from the Fed start to bite.