Warren Harding, who advocated a "return to normalcy," would generally be pleased. In what's proven to so far be a somewhat restrained session -- and that's on triple-witching day -- the Nasdaq Composite Index has resumed throwing its weight around. The S&P and Dow Jones Industrial Average are both lagging.
After putting together its largest two-day point gain in history (819 points) and dragging the Comp along with it yesterday afternoon, the Dow, which has recently dropped to about unchanged, has faded after a strong start. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, has reasserted itself, rising 51.97 points in about three hours of trading. After losing nearly 10% of its value from Monday to Wednesday, the Comp has bounced 4.7% today and yesterday.
Investors believe the Nasdaq's swift rebound is not without merit. The potential for growth still exceeds that of the Dow stocks, and the market still continues to view the tech sector as somehow immune to the threat of interest-rate increases, one of which is most likely coming next week, courtesy of the
. But the swiftness still makes heads spin.
"The thing that gets me is how strong the Nasdaq is," said Allan Meyers, portfolio manager of the
Kent Growth and Income Fund. "You get these little pullbacks; people pull 'em back 5% to 10%, and people jump on the bandwagon, and push them up. That mentality's not broken, and you see it again today."
Most active on the Nasdaq was
, gaining 1.3% on 23 million shares, and it was closely followed by
, up 2.3%, and
, which gained 1.6%.
Brian Gilmartin, portfolio manager at
Trinity Asset Management
, put it succinctly, just as Coolidge might: "You're seeing the PCs and semiconductors -- and the PCs and semiconductors."
Which is not to say the Dow is doing terribly. But ¿ you guessed it -- a PC maker,
accounts for 40 points of positive gain on the index, having jumped 6% today.
Among the Dow's other leaders are
, up 7/16 to 144 1/8, and
, up 1 5/8 to 37 1/4.
But some believe, in the face of at least one more interest rate hike from the Fed (and possibly several more), the Dow's recent gains aren't sustainable.
The market will ultimately correct, either in advance of the meeting, or after it's awakened by what will most likely be another harsh statement from the Fed. The
Consumer Price Index
was released today. Excluding food and energy prices, the CPI rose 0.2% in February, rising at a 3.2% year-over-year rate. That's an increase from January, when it was rising at a 2.7% year-over-year rate.
"You have to believe that 900 points has to come to a stop, at least in the near-term," said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at
. "You just don't go up 1000 points without a correction. This rally is not based on anything that has changed -- the Fed's not going to change what they're going to do. It's just a snapback."
Strategists expect the day could get more volatile (especially considering this week's gyrations), due to triple witching, the quarterly expiration of stock options, index options and index futures. It can produce a lot of weird activity late in the day, but it's hard to believe the market could be surprised by much.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index is up 38.72 points, or 3.15%. Among the Net stocks,
has gained 0.9% and
was up 8.3%.
was slightly lower, down 2.44 to 571.8.
Breadth was negative on heavy volume.
New York Stock Exchange
: 1,334 advancers, 1,495 decliners, 795 million shares. 36 new highs, 33 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market
: 2,120 advancers, 1,896 decliners, 973 million shares. 63 new highs, 53 new lows.
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