Stocks hover near records, lluminating earnings preview

Market breadth hasn’t been this good in over a decade.  The S&P 500 has 95% of companies trending above their 200 day moving averages.  With Treasury yields continuing to ease away from the 1.76% high set at the end of last month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index seem poised to keep hitting fresh record highs.  The Nasdaq is just 2% away from its record highs as growth stocks make a steady comeback.  Recent rallies in both Tesla and the Nasdaq have rejuvenated some interest in some of the favorite COVID pandemic trades.

US stocks pushed higher after US job openings surged to a two-year high in February.  The February Jolts job openings reading rose to 7.367 million, much better than consensus estimate of 6.9 million and upwardly revised prior reading of 7.099 million.  Hiring is at a torrid pace even before the majority of the public is vaccinated.  A tremendous amount of optimism has been priced in as the US economy is poised to run very hot throughout the summer. The labour market is looking sharp, and optimism is sky-high after the sparkling NFP report on Friday, which showed that the economy created 912 thousand jobs in March, up sharply from 379 thousand and easily beating the estimate of 652 thousand.

Illumina shows robust earnings results

Earnings season is approaching, and Illumina’s preannouncement was taken as a good sign of things to come.  The gene sequencing company delivered a robust revenue beat and sharply raised their full-year revenue guidance from +17-20% to +25-28%.  Not just the COVID products were solid but also the core business. Shares in the biotech company jumped 13% on Monday, after the company announced that it expects first-quarter revenue to top USD1 billion, up from USD859 million in the first quarter of 2020.

If Illumina is a precursor of what to expect, this earnings season could see many companies tout a broad-based acceleration.

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