Russell 2000’s best day since July is good for markets

Russell 2000’s best day since July is good for markets

A Charles Schwab location in New York, US, on Friday, July 7, 2023.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our new, international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

What you need to know today

Earnings excitement
Major U.S. indexes rallied Monday as investors grew optimistic over strong earnings reports thus far. Asia-Pacific markets traded higher Tuesday as South Korean indexes led gains in the region. Meanwhile, New Zealand reported two-year low inflation readings: Consumer prices in the third quarter rose 5.6% year on year, less than the second quarter’s 6% increase.

China’s renewed rebound
China’s economic growth will return next year, Mark Makepeace, former head of benchmark giant FTSE Russell told CNBC. “In the short term, China does have some issues … but the potential is there,” Makepeace said. One such issue: The country’s property sector is still struggling. If Country Garden fails to make a $15 million coupon payment today, all of its offshore debt could be in default.

Big Tech might win from the House
If Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is elected speaker of the U.S. House, technology giants like Google, Apple and Amazon stand to benefit because Jordan’s against using antitrust regulations to break up companies. He’s “aimed most of his ire at the Biden administration’s pressure on companies — not the companies themselves,” said Adam Kovacevich, CEO of lobbying group Chamber of Progress.

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Biden to visit Israel
U.S. President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday “to stand in solidarity in the face of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack,” he said on social media platform X. While there, Biden will try to mitigate an expansion of the war between Israel and Hamas, and work to establish the safe passage of critical humanitarian aid to Gaza, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

[PRO] Rising oil prices could boost non-energy stocks
Exogenous shocks, like supply cuts and the Israel-Hamas war, have forced oil prices upward. That’s good news for energy stocks — but these non-energy, European stocks also stand to benefit when oil and gas prices rise, according to Bank of America.

The bottom line

Despite U.S. Treasury yields rising and the Israel-Hamas war becoming increasingly volatile, major indexes in the U.S. closed in the green. Investors’ excitement over third-quarter earnings season, it appears, powered Monday’s rally in equities.

Companies that have already reported have mostly beat Wall Street estimates, giving their shares a boost. Charles Schwab climbed 4.66% after beating earnings expectations, and on Friday, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo rose following their earnings reports.

Investors are hoping this positive start will follow through for the week, during which 53 companies in the S&P 500 — around 11% of its constituents — will report results. (In fact, RBC Capital Markets’ so optimistic about earnings that it’s raised its forecast for 2023 and 2024 earnings per share. The bank’s new numbers “imply that the S&P 500 could surpass 4,700 by year-end 2023,” said Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. rates strategy at RBC.)

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If stocks continue rising at the brisk pace they did Monday, that’s certainly a possibility. The S&P 500 added 1.06% to close at 4,373 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.93% for its best day in a month, putting it less than 5% from its 52-week high.

“I really see a relief rally going on,” said Lisa Erickson, senior vice president at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “Sentiment has just turned relatively more positive.”

Indeed, even the small-cap Russell 2000 rallied 1.59%. “This market is starting to broaden out a little bit,” Richard Bernstein, CEO of Richard Bernstein Advisors, told CNBC.

The Russell 2000 has lagged behind major indexes this year because gains were concentrated in the “Magnificent Seven” mega-cap stocks. But “if the economy is going to re-accelerate, which it is doing, and if profits growth is going to re-accelerate, which it is doing, then small caps should lead the way,” added Bernstein. “That’s what history says.”

With the Russell 2000’s best session since July, it’s no wonder investors are growing excited.

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