C'mon, 499.19 points? You call that a rally?
Sure we do!
Money poured into
Dow Jones Industrial Average
stocks today, resulting in a session that reads like the "list of records broken" compiled every year after the Super Bowl.
Today's 499.19-point rise was the largest one-day point gain, on the most heavily traded day in
history. Combined with yesterday's 320-point boom, the 819-point rise is the largest combined consecutive two-day gain in history.
, eyeing all this, wasn't left out either. After falling more than 100 during the morning, the Nasdaq rebounded after three days of hemorrhaging and finished up an impressive 134.66 points to 4717.28.
The 800-point gorilla walking around the floor of the NYSE displayed some of the Nasdaq's characteristics -- momentum moves in stocks that aren't usually considered momentum plays. Strategists said it didn't take much for the market to start rolling on these stocks, and others caught on like moss.
"As a group, the value stocks have been sold out or sold down, and they're so underowned by institutions that it doesn't take a lot of money to have an explosion on the upside," said Stanley Nabi, chief investment officer at
DLJ Investment Management
. "Even a small amount of buying created this stampede."
The Dow gained 4.9% today, led by, well, everyone. Among Dow components,
rose 7% and
Most sectors performed like champs, especially the banks. The
Philadelphia Stock Exchange/KBW Bank Index
, which rose 9% on 25.7 million shares, was the NYSE's most active.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
gained 3%, and discount broker
The consumer stocks were higher, with
up 4.8% and
up 3%. The
Morgan Stanley Consumer Index
rose 5.9% today.
The Nasdaq's rise was harder to figure. It ruined a perfectly good 'rotation' story -- instead of money leaving tech and buying everything else, now it appears money left tech, bought everything else and came back in and bought some tech also.
Computer makers and Internet stocks, at one point trading off badly, finished the day considerably higher, bouncing back from a three-day contraction.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector
index finished the day up 33.52, while the
Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index
rose 2%, despite a terrible performance by several of its components, including
, which fell 2.6% today. The
The Nasdaq's most active was
, which rose 4% on 47 million shares.
Jim Volk, co-director of institutional trading at
, said the Nasdaq's afternoon bounce was prompted by the Dow's rally. While it took a 1,000-point slide and a few weeks to entice investors back into NYSE stocks, it only took three days and a 500-point decline in the Nasdaq to bring people back into tech-land.
"Because of the fact that the rest of the market was strong, valuations had adjusted to a point where people were going to buy them," Volk said.
While the barrage of investors dove back into Old Economy stocks ("I hate that phrase," Nabi said) for valuation reasons, the rise in the Dow also represented a shift in sentiment regarding the future of interest rates. Most of the market has factored in another quarter-point rate hike by the
, which would bring the funds rate to 6%.
Dow stocks were hurt badly by some of
recent jawboning, but strategists say the market is now discounting just a mild economic slowdown due to higher interest rates.
Which is why the homebuilders were higher today, such as
, up 5%, and
Kaufman & Broad
, up 9%, despite the threat of higher interest rates that could cut into housing growth, as well as other interest-rate-sensitive sectors, such as the banks.
Dow Jones Transportation Average
rose 6% today, while the
Dow Jones Utilities Average
"You have people saying, well, these look at some point to be unavoidably attractive, and together with economics, it's playing out in some kind of corrective phase," said Peter Austin Vlachos, portfolio manager of the
Austin Global Equity Fund
. "To whatever degree the market is discounting the Fed action, they're anticipating a soft landing."
Vlachos also isn't worried about the market's volatility, because it's not reflective of any change in company-specific fundamentals, but the result of exceedingly high cash inflows. With margin borrowing at an all-time high, and foreigners and Americans alike more invested in the market than ever before, the ability for the market to be pushed around seems to have been increased.
While that may not be a bad thing on a long-term basis (smooth out all the Nasdaq's recent hiccups and you've got a nice pretty trendline there), Peter Da Puzzo, president of
, said the quick shifts in momentum could be potentially destabilizing in coming days.
"As short-term traders take profits either you'll run into a vacuum and get a day where it'll turn around and go down 250 points and then momentum would shift a bit," Da Puzzo said. "Or, I'm hoping the pendulum has more room to move" higher.
Breadth was strong on heavy volume.
New York Stock Exchange
: 2,431 advancers, 648 decliners, 1.485 billion shares. 54 new highs, 51 new lows.
Nasdaq Stock Market
: 2,256 advancers, 1,994 decliners, 2.048 billion shares. 61 new highs, 106 new lows.