Big technology stocks like Amazon and Apple led major indexes to new records Wednesday, signaling to experts that investors are plowing into risky assets in search of market returns as stock valuations return to unprecedented highs.
- Despite breaking a seven-day winning streak Tuesday, the S&P 500 climbed 0.3% to 4,358 points, surpassing a Friday closing high and pushing year-to-date gains to nearly 18%.
- The tech-heavy Nasdaq, meanwhile, ticked up 1 point, adding to a record close from Tuesday and hitting a new intraday high above 14,755 points.
- Apple and Amazon were among mega-cap firms heading up market gains and notching new record closes, jumping 1.8% and 0.6%, respectively, on Wednesday.
- On the other hand, stocks in cyclical sectors like travel and energy continued to underperform amid tech’s resurgence, with Carnival Cruise Lines, Enphase Energy and American Airlines heading up the S&P's losses and falling 4%, 3.5% and 3%, respectively.
- Ushering in the broad gains, Treasury yields—which surged earlier this year and spooked investors away from tech stocks—dipped 3 basis points Wednesday, hitting their lowest point in five months.
“Stocks bounced back Wednesday as investors were forced back into risky assets after the bond market rally sent Treasury yields sharply lower,” Oanda Senior Market Analyst Edward Moya said shortly before the market close.
Fueling bullish sentiment, Federal Reserve officials revealed Wednesday afternoon they have started discussions about when they should ease their pandemic-era policy measures but said the group is still content with its efforts to aid the economic recovery and doesn’t yet plan to begin tapering efforts. Since March 2020, the Fed has been buying back $120 billion in bonds each month to bolster economic growth by injecting liquidity into the market.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Earnings season kicks off next week with a slew of reports from big banks, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase on July 13.
"Thanks to the strong start to this bull market, stock valuations have become a widespread concern," LPL Financial analysts wrote in a note last week, forecasting the S&P will only climb about 3% higher in the second half of the year. "After a big rally, more optimism is priced in, and that higher bar then opens the door to disappointment."