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Dow Jones, Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 Forecasts: What is Fueling the Rally?

Dow Jones, Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 Forecasts: What is Fueling the Rally?

Peter Hanks, Strategist

Dow Jones, Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 Price Outlook:

  • The S&P 500 reclaimed the psychologically significant 3,000 mark last week
  • Meanwhile, the Nasdaq 100 continues to edge closer to the all-time highs it saw in February
  • The Dow Jones remains a laggard but has posted gains of its own in recent weeks

Dow Jones, Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 Forecasts: What is Fueling the Rally?

The Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P 500 have continued to melt higher in recent days even as bullish catalysts seem to sputter out. Following the initial crash in February and early March, gains were quickly established in what many believed to be a “bear market rally” as governments and central banks offered aid in many shapes and sizes.

Nasdaq 100 Price Chart: 4 – Hour Time Frame (February – June)

Nasdaq 100 price chart

In the weeks that followed, market pundits attributed the continuation rally to slowing coronavirus cases and the efficacy of quarantine procedures. Now the three equity indices are approaching prior levels, but more than 40 million Americans are unemployed, bankruptcies have been declared, supply chains have been disrupted and other fundamental concerns have been ignited. Still, the Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P climb. So what exactly is fueling this recovery rally?

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Well, to be sure, not every market move has to have a single and easily identifiable catalyst. Similarly, markets can stay irrational for extended periods of time, so gains can be built even when the underlying fundamental landscape may suggest otherwise. This phenomenon could be seen, at least to some degree, in late January and early February when it was becoming more apparent the coronavirus would become a global ordeal.

S&P 500, Crude Oil and Copper Daily Price Chart (August 2019 – January 2020)

Dow Jones, Nasdaq 100, S&P 500 Forecasts: What is Fueling the Rally?

Chart created with TradingView. Taken from Twitter.

While other equity markets, risk-sensitive currencies and commodities like crude oil plummeted, the three US indices trudged higher still. At the time, I noted the relationship between crude oil and the S&P 500, highlighting the infrequency of such a divergence.

At present, the catalysts for a continuation rally beyond all-time highs seem few and far between. Further still, domestic unrest will likely dent coronavirus recovery efforts and US-China tensions have soared. When taken together, it seems unlikely the Dow Jones, Nasdaq and S&P 500 will reach new heights, but other risk sensitive assets like the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand Dollars have rallied, exhibiting widespread risk appetite.

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Thus, it can be argued US equity prices have become detached from their underlying fundamentals, but shorter-term trading involves price, not necessarily economic principles, and weeks of gains would suggest the current trend is higher still, however unfounded it may seem.

While I am of the opinion that some of these gains will have to be forfeited eventually, attempting to call the top at each leg higher is presumptuous. With that in mind, it may be prudent to wait on the sidelines until a catalyst can spark selling that is met with conviction if you possess a bearish bias, because it seems that none of the current threats have sparked such a move yet. In the meantime, follow @PeterHanksFX on Twitter for updates and keep close tabs on the price action in the days to come.

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--Written by Peter Hanks, Analyst for DailyFX.com

Contact and follow Peter on Twitter @PeterHanksFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.

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