The Stock Market Is Starting From "Go"

Posted: May 21, 2020 1:02 PM
The Stock Market Is Starting From "Go"

Source: AP Photo/Wayne Parry

Well, do not look now, but the market is moving closer to those halcyon levels enjoyed before the pandemic. 

I am not sure how to timestamp the coronavirus (COVID-19) with respect to the stock market. 

As stories about the virus were circulating, it felt like fodder for doomsday blogs or those perpetual shorts looking for any reason to jawbone the market lower.

Through this period, the stock market moved higher. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal posted a good piece that suggests the virus almost brought the financial markets to the brink on March 16th. That session saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) down 2,997 points or 12.9%, and other financial markets and instruments were under similar duress.

I think February 27th was the day the market got a whiff and reacted to the coronavirus wafting across the Pacific Ocean. Whenever the timestamp is, we all know it was swift and brutal; for many, it felt like the end of the world. 

In a way, it felt like lifting the ‘Chance Card’ in the game of Monopoly that takes you back to “Go,” where you collect $200. Everyone has wished they could turn back time or cut to the chase in life to quickly correct mistakes or avoid the pain associated with healing. The current rally effort feels like that as well.

Highest Close Since 2020

  • S&P 500: 2,917 highest since Mar 6th close at 2,972
  • NASDAQ: 9,375 highest since Feb 21st close at 9,576
  • Dow Jones Industrials: 24,575 highest since Apr 29th close at 9,576

2020 Year-to-Date (YTD)

  • S&P 500: -8.0%
  • Nasdaq Composite: +4.5%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: -13.9%

It is Not as Easy as it Looks

This is still a very bifurcated market, where the winners are up big, while the mass of stocks are still down significantly. A lot of folks are mistakenly playing Monday morning quarterback, assuming most stocks are back to even or higher. 

They are not.

S&P 500

  • Winners: 114
  • Losers: 391
  • Average gain: +13.1%
  • Average decline: -24.9%
  • Average gain top 20 winners: +38.2%
  • Average gain for the rest of the winners: +7.86%

It is an old cliché, but this really is a ‘Stock Picker’s Market.’

The Message of Session

I like that buyers continue to flock to unloved sectors, such as Industrials and Materials. The rally in Energy off the lows is very impressive, but the big buying was in Communication Services and Technology.

It’s tough to not have exposure to these sectors when they are the hottest companies in the world, and they have only gotten hotter since COVID-19.

S&P 500 Index


Communication Services XLC


Discretionary XLY


Consumer Staples XLP


Energy   XLE


Financials XLF


Health Care XLV


Industrials XLI


Materials XLB


Real Estate XLRE


Technology XLK


Utilities XLU



Portfolio Approach

Yesterday, we took big profits in LULU (Consumer Discretionary) and added two new ideas to our Hotline Model Portfolio, one in Consumer Discretionary and one in Technology.  If you are not a current Hotline subscriber, contact your account representative or click here to get started today.

Today’s Session

Another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment claims last week.  The silver lining is its down 9% or 249,000 from the prior week but still at horribly high levels.  Since the coronavirus, well actually the last 9 weeks, 38.6 million people have filed for unemployment.

More earnings from some big retailers:

Best Buy (BBY)

  • Revenues $8.56B vs $8.26B
  • Earnings $0.67 vs $0.41
  • Same Store -5.3% vs -8.6%
  • Online Sales 155.4%

TJX Companies (TJX)

  • Revenues $4.41 billion vs 4.92 billion consensus
  • Loss per share $0.74 vs -$0.18 consensus
  • Internationally, TJX fully opened stores in Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherland, and Australia, and will reopen this week in some provinces in Canada

BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ)

  • Revenue $3.72 billion
  • EPS $0.69
  • Same Store Sales +19.9% excluding gas
  • Same Store Sale in US +27%
  • Digital Sales +350%

L Brands (LB)

  • Q1 2020 EPS of -$1.07; versus $0.14 in Q1 2019
  • Q1 Revenue of $1.65B (-37.3% Y/Y)
  • Comparable Stores (stores & direct)
  • Bath & Body Works 41% in Q1 20; versus 13% Q1 19
  • Victoria’s Secret -13% in Q1 20; versus -5% Q1 19
  • L Brands 4% in Q1 20; versus 0% in Q19
  • Comparable Stores (stores only)
  • Bath & Body Works 20% in Q1 20; versus 7% Q1 19
  • Victoria’s Secret -15% in Q1 20; versus -7% Q 19

The major indices are slightly positive this morning.