ETFs Extend Gains with Growth, Momentum Styles Taking Charge

U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds rose Wednesday as improving economic data and an upbeat earnings season helped support a risk-on attitude.

On Wednesday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) was up 1.9%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) was 0.2% higher and iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) rose 0.9%.

“The markets are following momentum right now because it is a sign of progress,” Tobias Levkovich, the head U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup, told the Wall Street Journal. “But at some point, we have to look at the absolute levels.”

Momentum and growth stocks led the charge Wednesday, with shares soaring 25% following its beat-and-raise earnings announcement, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, cyclical stocks, which tend to perform well in times of economic recovery, were mostly lower.

“Markets are singing the same tune,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, told Reuters. “The market continues to move higher on momentum buying, and of course it’s the same Nasdaq group all the time.”

“There’s no indication of any real shift in leadership,” he added.

Investors continue to plow into equity markets, fueling the record rally run that has sent both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq above their pre-coronavirus highs.

“There’s still trillions of dollars on the sidelines in money-market funds. It needs to be deployed and the only real home for it is equities,” Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald, told the WSJ.

Energy was among the worst performers among S&P 500 sectors as Hurricane Laura barrels down on the Texas-Louisiana coastline, posing the worst threat to U.S. energy assets since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The storm system is expected to strengthen to a category 4 hurricane, forcing crude producers and refiners to shut down operations along the coast.

Looking ahead, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to reveal its outlook intended to soften the central bank’s inflation stance, which Chairman Jerome Powell is likely to touch upon at his remarks on Thursday as part of the annual Kansas City Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium that will take place in a virtual setting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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