Dow Jones futures will open Sunday evening, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures, amid a divided market rally. The Federal Reserve meeting looms but it’s already shaping up to be a big week for First Republic, Credit Suisse and the banking industry.
A stock market rally attempt is underway, but there is a clear divergence. The Nasdaq, led by Microsoft (MSFT), Meta Platforms (META), Nvidia (NVDA) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), surged above its 50-day and 200-day lines, even with Friday’s pullback.
Meanwhile the other indexes are being weighed down by bank and commodity stocks. The S&P 500 rose modestly, but couldn’t hold key support Friday. The Dow Jones edged lower while the Russell 2000 tumbled.
Banks remain in focus with industry giants and regulators scrambling to contain the crisis. Stocks boomed Thursday as JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), Citigroup (C) and 10 other big banks offered a lifeline to First Republic (FRC) while the Swiss National Bank supported ailing Swiss giant Credit Suisse (CS). But FRC stock and many other banks sold off again, with JPM stock hitting a fresh 2023 low.
Big Weekend For First Republic, Credit Suisse
This could be a big weekend for bank headlines. Financial regulators often use Saturday and Sunday to hammer out policies or rescues.
First Republic is look to raise cash via a private stock sale to other banks or private-equity firms, the New York Times reported late Friday. Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded First Republic to junk, following similar moves by S&P Global and Fitch earlier in the week. FRC stock, down 33% in Friday’s trade, tumbled 15% after hours. Notably, SVB Financial’s March 8 bid to raise cash via securities sales helped trigger its final collapse. But regulators and other banks will likely be keen to avoid that.
Separately, UBS (UBS) is in talks to buy all or some of Credit Suisse, the Financial Times reported late Friday, with Swiss regulators urging negotiations. The Swiss lending giant’s boards are set to meet separately over the weekend. CS stock rose 7% after hours while UBS climbed 3.5%.
Pacific Western Bank, the subsidiary of PacWest Bancorp (PACW) said late Friday night that it still has “solid liquidity” with over $10.8 billion in unavailable cash. That total exceeds uninsured deposits, PacWest said in a release after the end of extended trading Friday.
Meanwhile, the FDIC is open to sharing potential losses from SVB’s Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank to smooth their sale, the Financial Times reported Friday afternoon.
The Fed’s Tuesday-Wednesday policy meeting will try to balance current banking woes with fighting inflation. Fed funds futures have swung wildly over the past week, but markets currently are leaning toward a modest rate hike.
A news-driven, volatile, divided market rally attempt amid a possible banking crisis is not exactly an ideal situation. Investors should be cautious. But there’s no denying that a number of growth stocks have been flashing buy signals.
Stocks To Watch
Chip stocks remain clear market leaders. On Semiconductor (ON), Aehr Test Systems (AEHR), Mobileye (MBLY), Applied Materials (AMAT), GlobalFoundries (GFS), Monolithic Power Systems (MPWR) and STMicrolectronics (STM) are all near potential buy points or early entries. All have relative strength lines at or near highs.
The video embedded in this article reviewed the weekly market action in depth and analyzed AEHR stock, PDD and Lennar (LEN).
Dow Jones Futures Today
Dow Jones futures open at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures.
Stock Market Rally
The stock market rally had a wild week, starting off with sharp losses Monday morning, bouncing back with whipsaw action before finishing with further losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.2% in last week’s stock market trading. And the S&P 500 index rose 1.4%. The Nasdaq composite leapt 4.4%. The small-cap Russell 2000 lost 2.7% after diving 8% in the prior week.
Note that the 10-year Treasury yield dived 30 basis points to 3.395%, with huge swings each day. The 10-year yield is just above the Feb. 2 intraday low of 3.33%. The two-year yield crashed 74 basis points to 3.85%, the biggest weekly drop since 1987.
U.S. crude oil futures plummeted 13% to $66.74 a barrel last week, hitting 15-month lows.
Copper prices skidded 3.3%, but rose on Thursday and Friday.
Among growth ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) edged up 0.85% last week. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) jumped 5.1%, helped by Microsoft, Salesforce.com (CRM) and Adobe (ADBE). The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) leapt 5.4%. AMAT stock, On Semiconductor and STMicroelectronics are SMH holdings.
SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) tumbled 5.7% last week. The Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF (PAVE) skidded 4.9%. U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) plummeted 15.6%. SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) dipped 0.8%. The Energy Select SPDR ETF (XLE) plunged 6.9% and The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV) rose 1.4%.
The Financial Select SPDR ETF (XLF) slumped 5.9% to a five-month low. JPM stock, a key XLF holding, fell 5.9%, the lowest since October and just holding its 200-day line. That’s despite JPMorgan being among the best-run, well-capitalized banks. BAC stock tumbled 8.1% last week to its worst level since late 2020.
SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) dived 14.3% to the lowest point since late 2020 after plunging 16% in the prior week. California-based First Republic, Western Alliance (WAL) and PACW stock are among KRE’s many holdings, along with larger regional names such as KeyCorp (KEY) and Comerica (CMA).
FRC stock bounced 10% Thursday on big banks’ pledges to deposit $30 billion at First Republic, but the bank stock crashed 72% for the week, ending with its worst close since 2011. That’s after diving 34% in the prior week.
First Republic extended losses late Friday on the stock sale report.
WAL stock and PacWest suffered huge weekly losses, while KeyCorp and Comerica both lost 26%.
If the crisis continues, here’s a big looming issue. While financial regulators have authority to guarantee uninsured deposits at a specific bank, they can’t guarantee uninsured deposits at all banks. Only Congress could do that. Meanwhile, lawmakers are heading toward a debt ceiling standoff.
Fed Rate Hike Or No?
The current bank crisis, triggered by rapid Fed rate hikes over the past year, has upended hawkish bets for a half-point rate hike on March 22.
Currently, markets see a 60% chance of a quarter-point rate hike at the end of the Fed meeting on Wednesday. Investors are betting on a pause in May, with multiple rate cuts expected after that.
But all of this is in flux. Fed chief Jerome Powell and fellow policymakers may not yet know what they plan to do.
Policymakers don’t want to ease off on inflation, but obviously they don’t want to trigger a wider financial crisis. The Federal Reserve is a major player in financial regulation and any crisis policies.
Even if financial stresses quickly recede, banks are likely to rein in lending. That will further slow the economy and, along with tumbling commodity prices, ease inflation pressures.
The rate hike outlook will be crucial awaiting a renewed market rally. The Federal Reserve will update economic and rate hike projections on Wednesday. Markets will pay close attention to Fed chief Powell’s comments about how the policymakers view the current situation.
Chip Stocks Near Buy Points
On Semiconductor, also known as Onsemi, dipped 0.1% to 78.28 last week. However, ON stock is technically in range from a still-valid 77.38 buy point from a cup base cleared initially in January. ON stock also is finding support at the 10-week and 21-day lines, working on a new consolidation. A move above the March 9 high of 84.97 would offer an early entry for this EV-focused chipmaker.
Aehr Test Systems jumped 10.3% for the week to 32.25, ending just above the 21-day and 50-day lines. AEHR stock now has a new base with a 37.67 buy point. But look for early entries on this very volatile name, perhaps above Friday’s high of 33.84. On Semi is Aehr Test Systems’ top customer.
MBLY stock shot up 11% to 43.58, rebounding from the 50-day and retaking the 21-day. That offered an aggressive entry for the self-driving-car systems maker, which came public in October. Mobileye stock is working on a new consolidation.
GFS stock rose 3.5% to 66.46 for the week, rebounding from the 10-week line. The chip foundry is forging a potential flat base next to prior consolidations. The potential buy point is 72.60, but investors could use 68.70 as an early entry, clearing the bulk of recent action.
AMAT stock leapt 7.2% to 122.60, bouncing from the 50-day line in an upside, outside week. Shares are just below the 125.02 flat-base buy point, but are already actionable above 121.50.
MPWR stock gained nearly 2% to 488.31 last week, rebounding Monday from the 10-week line and ending the week just above the 21-day line. Monolithic Power stock has a 530.75 cup-with-handle buy point, according to MarketSmith analysis. Investors could use Friday’s high of 503.92 as an early entry.
STM stock dipped 0.5% to 48.03 in the past week, bouncing from the 50-day line on Thursday, trading just above the 21-day line. Shares have traded tightly in the past few weeks. STM stock has a 50.90 buy point from a long cup-with-handle base. Investors might see an early entry around 50 especially if there is a renewed market rally.
As Tesla stock rose 3.9% to 180.13 for the week, it continued to forge a bottoming base after a powerful run in January to mid-February. The EV giant is trading with key moving averages in play. TSLA stock found support at the 50-day line on Monday, but is facing short-term resistance at the 21-day line. Above that is the 200-day moving average, which has come down to almost coincide with the potential 217.75 buy point. A decisive move above the 200-day line would offer a buy signal. But a rejection at that level could be a shorting opportunity.
STMicro and On Semiconductor are Tesla suppliers, but the EV giant said recently that it aims to slash silicon carbide chip use in its next-generation vehicle platform.
Market Rally Analysis
The stock market rally isn’t just split, it’s a Jekyll and Hyde market.
The Nasdaq composite looks relatively healthy, moving strongly last week to reclaim all the key moving averages. Many techs have shown impressive strength or resilience in the past couple of weeks.
But the other indexes are below all the moving averages. The S&P 500, bolstered by tech giants, did rise modestly last week, but couldn’t hold its 200-day line. The Dow and especially the Russell 2000 lost ground, trading near 2023 lows.
A number of growth stocks are faring well, notably tech titans and chip plays but also a few software names. Homebuilders and some medical products makers also are acting well. But leadership is narrow.
Ultimately, a divided market rally cannot stand. If the bank crisis wanes, a broad-based, growth-led rally may take hold. But if bank woes spread, it’s hard to see the Nasdaq and growth leaders making any headway.
Depending on the weekend headlines, stocks and Treasury yields could soar or plunge at Monday’s open. The Fed rate hike decision and outlook will also have a huge impact. Ultimately, it’s not the news that matters, but the reaction to the news. But there is a lot of news swirling.
The Nasdaq and S&P 500 could confirm the market rally attempts with a follow-through day this coming week. But confirmed market uptrends don’t always succeed.
What To Do Now
The stock market is still in a correction, though the Nasdaq and growth stocks have shown promising action over the past week.
Investors could try to play some stocks flashing buy signals, but the risks remain high. Keep your exposure light awaiting a renewed market rally.
There’s a strong case to still be on the sidelines, waiting for a follow-through day. Even then, investors should move in gradually, especially with the bank crisis hanging over financial markets.
But investors need to be ready for a renewed market rally. Many stocks are on the cusp of buy points, or could be with a few good days. So it’s an important time to be preparing by working on your watchlists.
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