The SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) hit new all-time highs on Thursday. Who would have predicted that for the stock market today?
Not many were looking for such a robust rally to take place over the past few trading sessions. But InvestorPlace readers were ready. They knew that the stock market was trading in a well-defined range throughout the month of August and they knew when that range resolved to the upside.
Once resistance gave way and we saw follow through from the bulls, that’s when it was clear new highs were possible. In fact, we wrote: “Above resistance could send the S&P 500 back to 3,000, while a move below support likely brings up a test of the 200-day moving average.”
So what’s causing this rally anyway? Markets liked the de-escalating tone between China and the U.S., even though there some reports say the trade war will not likely be resolved any time soon.
More Quantitative Easing, Please?
For those looking for more quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve, don’t hold your breath. The Fed is scheduled to make its rate decision next week on Wednesday, Sept. 18. As it currently stands, the Fed Funds Rate is pricing in an 88.8% probability of a 25 basis point cut next week. The other 11.2% probability has the Fed keeping rates unchanged.
Put simply, the U.S. is not in the economic position — either with low growth or negative interest rates — to warrant more stimulus. But the European Union is.
The European Central Bank announced a 10-basis-point cut in its deposit rate to -0.5%, in-line with expectations. The ECB also announced that it will restart its QE program to the tune of $20 billion per month beginning Nov. 1. While ECB president Mario Draghi says there’s only a low chance chance of an E.U. recession, those odds have increased.
QE should be a boost, but it’s concerning that it’s needed after a near-decade of various policies.
Movers in the Stock Market Today
It was an exciting day in the stock market today, if not just because equities are flirting with their all-time highs. However, not all assets are moving favorably.
While gold prices — and the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEARCA:GLD) — closed higher on the day, GLD finished well off its morning highs. The can be said for bonds too, via the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ:TLT). The fall in bonds helped pave the way for bank stocks to continue their rally on Thursday, even as they approach resistance.
The Top Stock Trades column took a closer look at the bank stocks earlier today.
What else was moving?
Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) fell roughly 10% and hovered near its session lows in the stock market today. The decline came after the company reported its quarterly results, missing revenue expectations and showing margin pressure. The woes of the cannabis space continue.
BHGE opened notably lower on the day and fell to $21.36. However, it finished higher by 1.5% at $22.63 despite GE announcing it will cut its stake from 50.3% to roughly 39.5% as it looks to raise capital.
The IPO market remains a mixed bag, with the latest shake-up coming from SmileDirectClub (NASDAQ:SDC). Shares priced at $23, above the $19-$22 range. But that didn’t please investors, as shares tumbled 27.5% in their debut. Ouch.
Heard on the Street
Shares of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) got off to a hot start in the stock market today. However, the stock only managed to climb 1% by the time the market closed. That’s despite Nomura analysts upgrading the stock to “buy” and raising their price target from $49 all the way to $64. The target implies more than 16% upside from Wednesday’s closing price.
Wells Fargo analysts are ringing the bell on Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Deere (NYSE:DE). They downgraded both stocks from “outperform” to “market perform,” assigning price targets of $170 and $143, respectively.