Strong Start to 2021 as Stocks Rise in Q1

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The Dow was the only major index in the red on Wednesday, but it easily had the best performances for March and the first quarter. But that wasn't all! Even the NASDAQ, which lost a lot of money to the Dow thus far in 2021, managed positive performances.

In other words, we’ve had a very solid start to the year, despite all the craziness from things like the Squeeze-A-Palooza, the rotation out of tech, the bitcoin surge, a recent margin call and, of course, ongoing concerns of rising bond yields and accelerated inflation.

Even with all these potential problems, the Dow still jumped by 7.8% in the first quarter while the S&P was up 5.8%. The beleaguered NASDAQ was on the plus side too with a rise of 2.8%, though a big reason for that gain came in today’s session.

The tech-heavy index had a fantastic end to the month with an upswing of 1.54% (or more than 200 points) today to 13,246.87. It came into Wednesday’s session down by more than 1% for March, but leaves with a slight advance of 0.4% for the 31 days. The rally was also a big help for its aforementioned quarterly performance.

It was like the good old days with all the FAANGs moving upward, especially Facebook (FB, +2.27%) and advances of more than 1% each for Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX). Meanwhile, Tesla (TSLA) jumped more than 5% and Microsoft (MSFT) got involved with a rise of nearly 1.7%.

The S&P momentarily reached a new high today, but settled for an advance of 0.36% to 3972.89. That’s less than two points away from its all-time closing high set last Friday. The Dow was off by 0.26% (or about 85 points) to 32,981.55, which marks two days of losses after two days of record highs.

For the month of March, the Dow was up 6.6% and the S&P advanced 4.2%.

In other news, the ADP employment report showed that private payrolls rose 517,000 in March, which trounced the previous month’s upwardly-revised 176,000. However, it was a bit below expectations. The Government Employment Situation report comes out the day after tomorrow, even though the market will be closed due to Good Friday.

The much-watched 10-year Treasury yield was flat on Wednesday, but remains above 1.7%.

See you in April!

Today's Portfolio Highlights:

Commodity Innovators: Many people now believe that aluminum has replaced copper as the preferred base metal, which suggests better prospects for the commodity moving forward. If you want to make an investment in aluminum, then you look at Aloca (AA). Jeremy has been watching this stock for a while and got involved today after a major firm’s upgrade. A slight pullback from 52-week highs provided a great entry point. The editor also decided to get back into coffee by adding IPath Series B Bloomberg Coffee Subindex Total Return ETN (JO), which brought a double-digit profit earlier this year. He thinks the recent selloff is due to lockdown fears in Europe, which should subside as the vaccines continue to be distributed. AA and JO are both considered long-term investments. Read the full write-up for more on today’s moves.  

TAZR Trader: A lot of investors “flinched” in March when the tech sector went on sale and then threw head-fakes around NDX 13,000. Well, Kevin is calling the correction over as he thinks the index is poised to sneak above resistance at 13,300 and leave those investors behind. This leaves a perfect opportunity to add to the portfolio’s position in innovative chip name NVIDIA (NVDA). Read the complete commentary for a lot more on the editor’s thinking, including how to take advantage of the market "confusion”.

Home Run Investor: After selling three names from the portfolio last week, Brian was ready to make a new addition. On Wednesday, he gained some exposure to the financial sector by buying Virtu Financial (VIRT). This market-leading financial services firm leverages cutting-edge technology to provide execution services and data, analysts and connectivity products to its clients and deliver liquidity to the global markets. VIRT has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters. The most recent surprise was an impressive 45%! Rising earnings estimates made the stock a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Brian also thinks its valuation is attractive and likes the improved operating margins. Read the full write-up for a lot more. By the way, this portfolio had a top performer on Wednesday as Lithium Americas Corp. (LAC) jumped 12.1%.

Healthcare Innovators: This portfolio had a fantastic session on Wednesday with three of the top five winners among all ZU services. And all three of them were double-digit gains! The noteworthy results came from Twist Bioscience (TWST, +12.9%), Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA, +11.1%) and Moderna (MRNA, +10.5%). NTLA is also among the biggest movers over the past 30 days with a healthy advance of 25.3%.   

Have a Good Evening,
Jim Giaquinto

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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