Stocks Heading Into Holiday Season With Record Highs

The Fed's recent policy rhetoric was in focus this week

Digital Content Manager
Nov 5, 2021 at 4:12 PM
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Stocks continued their run of near daily record highs heading into November, as investors digested a slew of economic updates and earnings reports. The Federal Reserve was once again in focus this week, capping its two-day meeting on Wednesday by announcing it will start tapering its pandemic-induced bond buying program later this month. Wall Street largely brushed off the central bank's decision, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI), S&P 500 (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) notching fresh record highs at the top of the week. By Tuesday, all three indexes were rallying even higher. 

Wednesday and Thursday were more of the same, as the small-cap Russell 2000 Index (RUT) also rose to a record close by the middle of the week, and on Thursday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose to their sixth-consecutive record closing highs. Upbeat jobless claims helped boost sentiment, though the Dow sat out the rally, snapping a five-day win streak. Meanwhile, the VIX fell to its lowest level since July. The Dow has roared back to life today, nabbing a fresh intraday peak, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are looking to string on their seventh-consecutive all-time closing highs. 

How to Take Advantage of Winter Seasonality

With the market entering its most bullish six-month period, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White has created several studies of stocks to watch, based on seasonality, including the best exchange traded funds (ETF) and S&P 500 performers over the past 10 years. Surprisingly, the iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB) tends to do especially well this month, with sector stalwart PulteGroup (PHM) one of the better performers during the month. There's also retail stock Costco (COST), which hasn't seen a negative return in November for at least 10 years. 

The Best (and Worst) of the Week

Earnings season and volatility go hand-in-hand, so its no surprise several individual stocks made outsized moves. On Friday, quite a few travel stocks surged, including Airbnb (ABNB) and Expedia (EXPE), following Pfizer's latest Covid-19 antibody pill update. Other stocks that saw big post-earnings returns this week were chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM), and Lyft (LYFT), taking sector peer Uber (UBER) along with it. 

Cassava Sciences (SAVA), meanwhile, rose nearly 50% on Thursday after its the Journal of Neurosciences cleared its controversial Alzheimer's treatment. Several meme stocks got a boost, too, including AMC Entertainment (AMC) on blockbuster October ticket sales, and Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) after announcing a partnership with Kroger (KR). The shares of Zillow Group (ZG), on the other hand, crumbled on Wednesday, thanks to the imminent closure of its Zillow Offers home-flipping program. Peloton (PTON) is also plunging today after a top- and bottom-line miss for its latest quarter. 

Earnings Will Keep Investors Occupied During Quiet Week 

The week will be somewhat quiet as far as economic data goes, though plenty of big-name earnings reports will keep investors occupied. Highlighting the list is  AstraZeneca (AZN), BioNTech (BNTX), Beyond Meat (BYND), Bumble (BMBL), PayPal (PYPL), Plug Power (PLUG), TripAdvisor (TRIP), Virgin Galactic (SPCE), and Yeti (YETI). There will also be a federal budget update slated for Thursday, and the consumer sentiment index and five-year inflation expectations will be due out on Friday. In the meantime, traders should keep an eye on the Nasdaq-100 Index's (NDX) recent breakout, as well as an SPX buy signal that could keep market momentum going well into the new year. 

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