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Taking stock: Equity bulls wishing for mo' of November


1 December 2020

US stocks fell on Monday, with the dip capping the end of an otherwise spectacular November for equities. The S&P 500 posted a 10.75 percent advance in November, its largest monthly gain since April, while the Dow Jones index’s 11.84 percent advance was its biggest jump for a single month since January 1987!

Given such lofty heights, it was only natural that the momentum would ease. After all, from the smallest ripples to the largest tsunamis, they all eventually break.

Still, it’s important to take stock of the massive surge in equities for the month. The MSCI ACWI index, which measures the performance of global stocks, posted an unprecedented monthly gain of 12.21 percent; its largest single-month climb on record.

Equity markets clearly took the contentious US election in stride, and risk-on sentiment was sent surging as several Covid-19 vaccine candidates took massive strides towards being ready for rollout. Intriguingly, all of these positive developments surrounding the vaccine came on a Monday; at least for the past four consecutive Mondays.

As investors began pricing in a post-pandemic world, sending them flocking to stocks that had been left devastated by the pandemic, that rotation gave fresh legs to US benchmark indices.

However, the rotation play came at the expense of pandemic-darlings in the tech sector, causing the latter to underperform. Still, that didn’t mean tech counters were going to miss out on any of the fun. The Nasdaq 100 index also can boast of a double-digit monthly advance, though last month’s 11 percent was just 0.05 percentage points shy of the monthly gain registered for August.

And the Nasdaq 100 looks set to climb higher into unprecedented territory before 2020 is over, with futures pointing north at the time of writing.

Yet it looks like a new risk-on wave is forming at the onset of December, with S&P 500 futures climbing during the Asian session on Tuesday. Recall that the S&P 500 posted a new record high on November 27th, before Monday’s slip. And the rally doesn’t appear to be quite over.

The upside for US stocks is further bolstered by the ultra-accommodative stance by the Federal Reserve, with Fed chair Jerome Powell like to reiterate that the central bank will do all it can to aid the US economic recovery. Powell is set for a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee later on Tuesday.

Although the still-rising Covid-19 cases in the US presents some near-term downside risks, markets are willing to look past that trend and focus on the prospects of life after Covid-19. As long as such hopes are not doused, equities are set to find plenty more suitors to chase prices higher.

#source

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