The Dow Jones Industrial Average trundled along the unchanged line on Monday despite big gains in the single most important stock in the market — I’m talking about tech giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) — failed to translate into broad buying pressure. Investors also largely shrugged off the over-the-weekend electoral win of independent centrist Macron in the French presidential election.
In the end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a fraction, the S&P 500 was unchanged, the Nasdaq Composite gained a fraction, and the Russell 2000 lost 0.4%. Treasuries weakened, the dollar was stronger, gold was little changed and crude oil gained 0.5% amid choppy trading.
News flow was light with no major earnings, economic data, or political developments. But the tape felt fragile and heavy amid complacency as large-cap stocks continue their recent ultra-tight sideways slide as the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gets crushed to levels last seen in 1993.
Volume was in line with the 30-day average and breadth was negative, with 1.2 decliners for every advancing issue on the New York Stock Exchange. Energy led the way with a 0.7% gain while materials were the laggards down 0.9%.
A few highlights from the day:
- Kate Spade & Co (NYSE:KATE) gained 8.3% after Coach Inc (NYSE:COH) acquired the retailer in a $2.4 billion deal representing a 27.5% premium to the previous close.
- Chinese online retailer JD.com Inc(ADR) (NASDAQ:JD) gained 7.7% after Q1 revenues beat expectations unexpectedly by 4%.
- On the downside, Stamps.com Inc. (NASDAQ:STMP) fell 7.9% on competitive pressures.
- Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) fell 6.1% on an earnings miss.
After the close, Hertz Global Holdings, Inc (NYSE:HTZ) plunged 14% after reporting a big earnings miss with a loss of $1.61 per share vs. the $1 loss expected. This is a loss four times greater than what was suffered one year ago. Revenues declined 3%. Management highlighted concerns about used car residual values, as a flood of off-lease vehicles hit the secondary market, something that’s poised to weigh on the auto sector in general.
However, with valuations high and the VIX crushed, the ratio of the S&P 500’s price-to-earnings ratio relative to the VIX has hit levels of euphoria not seen since 1994.
How About Apple?
Apple shares finished 2.7% higher on Monday to push its market capitalization past $800 billion for the first time thanks to a few positives.
That included praise from Warren Buffett — who roughly tripled Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (NYSE:BRK.B) stake in the company to $19.2 billion — reports about the iPhone 8 being on schedule, and a $202 price target from Drexel Hamilton’s Brian White, which implies a $1 trillion-plus market cap.
Investors continue to be excited about the very impressive growth in App Store revenue as Apple’s focus shifts from growing the iPhone user base to milking its broad market share penetration. Last quarter, App Store revenue increased 40% year-over-year.