SPX Spends Week Chasing New Heights Amid Mixed Economic Data

Big Tech had the Nasdaq on a roller coaster all week

Laura McCandless
Aug 14, 2020 at 3:03 PM
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Throughout the week, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) has toyed with toppling its all-time closing high. The week started out strong for the Dow and SPX, both scoring their seventh-straight wins -- the former's longest run since September of 2019 -- before snapping their streaks on Tuesday. The Nasdaq, however, began the first two days with losses due to major slides from Big Tech stocks, the seemingly sole mover in a volatile week for the benchmark.

The middle of the week brought upbeat sentiment with the news that the U.S. government will purchase 100 million doses of Moderna's (MRNA) experimental coronavirus vaccine. This sentiment carried over to Thursday after initial U.S. weekly jobless claims came in below 1 million for the first time since March. However, Cisco's (CSCO) plummet weighed on the Dow, as did the coronavirus relief bill stalemate in Congress -- now paused until September. By the end of the week, amid mixed retail data, the SPX is still just beneath its all-time high and the major indexes are all looking to eke out weekly gains. 

2 Tech Stocks Set to Surge Even Higher

Tech stocks took the market by storm this week, with Twitter (TWTR) kicking things off with buzz around the possibility of buying popular video app Tik Tok. Meanwhile, payment name Square (SQ) saw a surge in options volume just one week after a notable earnings beat, and Schaeffer’s founder and CEO Bernie Schaeffer took a look at what we could expect after an Apple (AAPL) stock split. Also worth noting, both Glu Mobile (GLUU) and Zscaler (ZS) began flashing a bull signals on the charts.

Vaccine News at Epicenter of Drug Sector Once More

On Wednesday, the aforementioned U.S. government deal with Moderna had the company joining Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Novavax (NVAX), Pfizer, and AstraZeneca (AZN) as the biotech names to secure government funding as part of Operation Warp Speed. Speaking of Novavax, the stock moved lower after a quarterly miss, but gave an encouraging supply-chain update for its potential coronavirus vaccine.

However, this week wasn't entirely vaccine-focused. Seres Therapeutics (MCRB) gapped higher on Monday after its infections drug met its late-stage goals. Elsewhere, keep an eye on Horizon Therapeutics (HZNP), which is flashing a bullish signal and has attractively priced options to boot.

Retailers Stay Relevant Amid Pandemic

Consumer sentiment came in weak for August on Friday, just hovering above the pandemic low. Meanwhile, U.S. retails sales grew 1.2% for July, lower than expected, though sales excluding auto came in higher. One automaker, AutoZone (AZO), announced it would add over 20 thousand employees in the U.S. to meet growing demand. Elsewhere, Tapestry (TPRY) and Canada Goose (GOOS) both dropped lower despite positive quarterly results. One retailer, Big Lots (BIG), has support in place to move higher on the charts. 

Fed Minutes on Tap Next Week

Though earnings season is coming to a close, there's still plenty of economic data and earnings for investors to sift through. Two strong indicators are due out mid-week: the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) meeting minutes, and jobs data. In the meantime, take a look at the next SPX level that bulls should look out for according to Schaeffer's Senior V.P. of Research Todd Salamone.


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