NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq edged up to their highest intraday levels ever on Monday after data showed U.S. consumer spending surged in March, but gains in shares remained muted as investors waited for a fresh batch of earnings reports.
Optimism about a U.S.-China trade resolution and dovish Federal Reserve has been powering the benchmark index, which topped its record high of 2,940.91 hit on Sept. 21 for the first time during the session.
JIM PAULSEN, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, THE LEUTHOLD GROUP, MINNEAPOLIS
“Whether its 2,939 or 2,943 is no big deal but in practice it’s a big deal. It’s going to get a lot of headlines. It’s going to reset resistance levels for technical traders and create more pressure on people waiting for the bear market who have been underinvested.”
“If it closes at a new high today there’ll be meetings for investors who are bearish and they’ll say ok we’re still bearish but we’ve got to put a little more money to work here.”
“It does create pressure to bring more buyers. Today’s headline augments the fear of missing out. Its going to make the bears less bearish or more worried they’re going to get run over.”
RICK MECKLER, PARTNER AT CHERRY LANE INVESTMENTS, NEW VERNON, NEW JERSEY
“It’s really about the administration continuing to hint a trade agreement is near. They’ve consistently told the market they’re going to get there. People don’t want to miss out on the expected rally from that news. That, combined with the momentum that’s already been in place to keep pushing to slightly newer highs, is leaving the market devoid of sellers. Even if you want to sell, you’re probably waiting for that announcement to pick your spot. That’s the major thing.
“Of course earnings have been OK to good. And, when you get that lower inflation number as well, which I think suggests no interest rate rise, there are just not enough reasons right now that investors see to sell stocks.”
RYAN NAUMAN, MARKET STRATEGIST, INFORMA FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE, ZEPHYR COVE, NEVADA
“The record high shows us that investors are paying attention to the better-than-expected earnings, stabilizing economic data and then expectations that the Fed is going to stay on the sidelines.”
“When you get the solid GDP number and the economy continues to expand the way it is right now, then it might just bring the Fed back in the play. However, the muted inflation numbers might be enough to keep the Fed on the sidelines.”
OLIVER PURSCHE, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, BRUDERMAN ASSET MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK
“It’s a positive sign. It’s being driven by the fact that overall earnings have come in somewhat better than most had expected. There was a lot of fear coming into earnings season.”
“You couple that with the continued expectation that the Fed will stay very dovish, the trade deals that are going to materialize between the U.S. and China and some global data pointing out that, yes, the world’s economies are slowing down, but not as badly as some feared – that’s what’s driving the market at this point. Unless there’s a reversal of those conditions, there’s reason for continued optimism.”
“This is a big earnings week. If earnings come through, we could see the S&P at 3000 this week.”
JOE SALUZZI, CO-MANAGER OF TRADING, THEMIS TRADING, CHATHAM, NEW JERSEY
“The goldilocks economy is exactly where you are right now. That seems sustainable to me. Overall I think you keep going here,” said Saluzzi citing good earnings, an accommodative Fed and good economic data. “The next catalyst will be the China deal.”
Saluzzi says valuations are not overly inflated.
“We went down too far in December. The sell-off was based on nothing but fear,” he said. “I’m always looking for fundamentals to support the rally and you still have them.”