Usually, a headline like that would spell doom for stocks, but that wasn’t the case Monday. Major U.S. equity benchmarks rallied even as President Donald Trump had some, shall I say, “words of encouragement” for the Federal Reserve.
“The Fed Rate, over a fairly short period of time, should be reduced by at least 100 basis points, with perhaps some quantitative easing as well,” said the president on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR). “If that happened, our Economy would be even better, and the World Economy would be greatly and quickly enhanced–good for everyone!”
President Trump has a long history of moving markets via Twitter, but that wasn’t necessarily the case Monday when it comes to the dollar, which he has long complained is too strong. The Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (NYSEARCA:UUP), which tracks the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, closed modesty higher and just a third of a percent below its 52-week high. UUP is up about 2% this month, indicating Fed rate cuts aren’t always the elixir to quell a strong dollar.
Despite the dollar firming again today, the plenty of export-sensitive sectors and individual names rallied, helping the Nasdaq Composite to a gain of 1.35% while the S&P 500 added 1.21%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average started the week higher by 0.96% with just two of its 30 components finishing lower on the day.
Be Careful With These Dow Winners
Two of the best performers in the Dow today may require some caution. Sure, it was nice to see Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) rally after the network gear maker was drubbed last week following disappointing guidance on its earnings call, but Monday’s bounce may be one of the dead cat variety.
Similar caution may be warranted with chemicals maker Dow (NYSE:DOW), which was the second-best Dow stock today behind Cisco. Again, it’s nice to see a cyclical, tariff-sensitive name in the green today, but the stock was downgraded last Friday to “neutral” by Bank of America Merrill Lynch with that bank also paring its price target on Dow shares to $44 from $55.
Of the 17 analysts rating shares of Dow, just six have “buy” ratings on the name while 11 have the equivalent of a “hold” on the stock.
DJIA Earnings Note
I’ve been mentioning The Home Depot (NYSE:HD) recently because the company reports earnings tomorrow, and today’s gain of 2.11% suggests trades were buying the name in advance of that report. There was some elevated options activity in Home Depot today, too, but history suggest traders should be careful with the home improvement giant post-earnings.
“Looking into HD’s earnings history, the stock has closed lower the day after earnings in all but two of the past eight quarters, though the reaction to Home Depot’s most recent report in May was positive,” according to Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “Over the past two years, the shares have swung an average of 1% the day after earnings, regardless of direction. This time around, the options market is pricing in a larger-than-usual 6% swing for Tuesday’s trading.”
Some Good Dow News
I’ve mentioned a few times this year that alternative energy stocks and ETFs are really weighing on the traditional energy sector, so with that in mind, it was nice to see Chevron (NYSE:CVX) jump 1.68% today on some bullish analyst chatter. Barclays started coverage of Chevron today with an “overweight” rating and a $145 price target. That price target implies significant upside from today’s close just under $118.
“Chevron is well positioned to both return significant free cash flow to shareholders and fund its…compound annual growth rate guidance,” according to the bank.
Dow Jones Bottom Line
In addition to the aforementioned Twitter action by President Trump, today’s upside was the product of familiar themes: expectations that more Fed rate cuts are coming and that the U.S. and China might be able to make some headway on the trade front.
Speaking of the Fed, Chairman Jerome Powell speaks in Wyoming late this week, so it’s safe to say all eyes and ears will be on that speech regarding rate cut clues.
Todd Shriber does not own any of the aforementioned securities.