Wall Street ended sharply higher on Monday, fueled by expectations of a coronavirus relief package and by a rally in Amazon, Apple and other technology stocks ahead quarterly earnings season, and Prime Day.
Amazon rallied 4.8 per cent ahead of its annual Prime Day shopping event on October 13 and 14.
The company does not reveal revenue for the annual event, but it will certainly lead to a big pay day for Jeff Bezos, Amazon owner: some analysts are expecting close to $10 billion in sales over the two days.
Prime Day is on October 13 and 14, and Amazon’s shares rose 4.8 per cent ahead of the day
Traders anticipating a bumper Amazon Prime Day have caused a rise in Amazon’s share price
Prime Day, which features deals on many products on Amazon.com, began in 2015 as a celebration of Amazon’s 20th year in business.
It turned into a summer sales holiday designed to generate additional business for Amazon before the holiday shopping season.
This year, Amazon postponed the sales event from its usual July time slot because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year Amazon said it sold more than 175 million items during the 2019 Prime Day – more than its sales for the past Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Sales were estimated by Digital Commerce 360 at $7.2 billion.
A ‘record number’ of Prime members in the U.S., who pay an annual fee of $119 to get perks like free shipping and access to Prime Day, shopped the event in 2019, Amazon said.
Amazon said it sold over 100,000 laptops, 200,000 televisions, 300,000 headphones, 350,000 luxury beauty products and more than 1 million toys on Prime Day 2019.
In the U.S., it said top-selling items were the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, the Instant Pot DUO60 and 23andMe health and ancestry kits.
Amazon was not the only stock soaring on Monday.
Apple Inc jumped 6.4 per cent, adding $128 billion to its stock market value, ahead of an event on Tuesday, when it is expected to unveil its newest iPhones.
Microsoft jumped 2.6 per cent, helping lift the S&P 500 information technology index 2.7 per cent.
The S&P 500 was about 1 per cent below its record closing high from September 2, nearly recovering from most of a 9 per cent pullback last month.
‘Apple is crushing it. There’s some euphoria around the name,’ said Phil Blancato, chief executive of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.
‘The market leaders are once again the tech names, supported by the fact that the economy continues to expand.’
Investors are increasingly pointing to potential benefits of a Biden presidency
Optimistic sentiment dominated after the Trump administration on Sunday called on Congress to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill as negotiations on a broader package ran into resistance.
‘It looks like the administration wants a deal done before the election,’ said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.
‘Now it’s up to the Republican Senate to figure out how big the number is going to be.’
Many investors view Democratic candidate Joe Biden as more likely to raise taxes, and for months have seen a second term for Trump, who favors deregulation, as better for the overall stock market.
However, with growing expectations of a Democratic win in next month’s presidential election, investors are increasingly pointing to potential benefits of a Biden presidency, such as greater infrastructure spending and less global trade uncertainty.
Betting odds aggregated by RealClearPolitics suggest bettors see a 67 per cent chance Biden will win and a 33 per cent chance for Trump, the greatest gap so far between the two candidates.
The S&P 500 was about 1 per cent below its record closing high from September 2
Amazon’s shares closed up 4.75 per cent on Monday
Apple’s shares were up by 6.35 per cent ahead of Tuesday’s new product launch
Apple’s share price rose on the expectation of a new iPhone unveiled on Tuesday
With the October 15 presidential debate officially canceled, Trump plans to travel to key battleground states this week as his doctor declared he was no longer a transmission risk for the novel coronavirus.
Results from big U.S. banks will be in focus this week, with JPMorgan & Co and Citigroup set to report on Tuesday.
Overall, analysts expect third-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to fall 21 per cent from a year earlier, smaller than a 31 per cent slump in the second quarter.
‘Earnings are expected to be negative, but I think most people would say, ‘Yes, but we set the bar so low that we will probably beat Q3 numbers the way we beat Q2 numbers’,’ said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA in New York.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.88 per cent to end at 28,837.52 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.64 per cent to 3,534.22.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 2.56 per cent to 11,876.26.
The S&P 500 energy index fell 0.15 per cent as oil prices dropped on easing supply worries.
Twitter Inc jumped 5.1 per cent after Deutsche Bank upgraded the social media company’s shares to ‘buy’ on expectations of continued growth in 2021.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 8.2 billion shares, compared with the 9.7 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.79-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.57-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 71 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 159 new highs and 14 new lows.