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Dow strains for 30000 amid persisting pandemic woes

19 November 2020

Recent positive developments surrounding a Covid-19 vaccine have amped up investors, as they contemplate a return to life as we knew it before the pandemic, or at least as close to it as possible. Amid such euphoria, investors have poured back into sectors that have been devastated by the pandemic.

Yet for all that’s been made about the rotation play, the 30,000 line has proven elusive for the Dow Jones index thus far, despite multiple attempts to attain that level this month. At least the Dow can draw comfort that it’s a long ways above its 200-day simple moving average, which has done its job well as a key support level since August.

The Dow’s strains appear to suggest that investors are having to douse some of their optimism surrounding the outlook for the global economy. Although Pfizer revealed yesterday that its Covid-19 vaccine was 95 percent effective and could apply for emergency authorization by the weekend, it could be months out before the vaccine can reach a sizeable enough portion of the global population.

In the meantime, markets may have to endure more pandemic-induced pain on the global economy. Covid-19 has already claimed over 250,000 lives in the US alone, with the global death toll stands at around 1.34 million. The coronavirus has infected about 56 million people worldwide, with a resurgence in cases in major cities such as Tokyo and New York, with the latter deciding to shut down its schools once more. At the time of writing, US equity futures are edging lower, which suggests that Wednesday's declines on all three major benchmark indices are set to be extended later today.

Still, it’s important to take stock of what’s transpired in equity markets in recent weeks.

The Dow Jones index’s 11 percent month-to-date gain is more than the S&P 500’s 9.1 percent and the Nasdaq Composite’s 8.2 percent registered for the same period. Out of the Dow’s 30 constituents, Boeing’s 40 percent month-to-date advance leads the pack, while American Express and Chevron come in second and third place respectively, both with over 20 percent gains apiece. Keep in mind these three stocks account for over 10 percent of the overall index.

In contrast, pandemic-era stalwarts such as Apple and Microsoft are lagging behind as they find themselves in the bottom half of the index’s constituents in terms of gains registered so far this month.

Overall, the rotation play appears to be just getting started, and with more room to run, could eventually propel the Dow Jones index to that 30,000 promised land. Having said that, I must point out that the FXTM Trader's Sentiment on the Wall Street 30 (Mini) currently reads 54 percent short, and 46 percent long.

Still, equity bulls who are banking on more gains in the stock market are armed with the assurances by US health officials that 40 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, once its approved, can be distributed across the world’s largest economy by end-December. Such prospects could aid the US economic recovery to transpire at a faster clip. Also, the Fed’s ultra-accommodative monetary policy stance, coupled with the prospects of more incoming US fiscal stimulus, ensures that US stock markets have limited downside.

In short, it’ll likely be only a matter of time before we see the Dow Jones index setting a new record high above the 30,000 mark.



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