Home » Stocks

Why the S&P 500 Rose for the Second Straight Week

Published on

The S&P 500 ticked up about half a percentage point last week to 5,128, marking the second straight week of gains for the large-cap index.

All of the major indexes gained last week, led by the small-cap Russell 2000, which rose 1.6% to 2,035. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.4% to 16,156, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.1% to 38,676.

The markets continued to trend higher on Monday morning, again led by the Russell 2000, which rose almost 1% in morning trading. Will the indexes continue their winning streaks this week?

Fed spurs markets higher

It wasn’t good news from the Federal Reserve that boosted the markets, mainly, the Nasdaq and Russell 2000. Instead, it was more a lack of bad news.

The Fed did not take any action on rates following the April 30-May 1 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), and none was expected.

However, the markets took it as a positive when Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in the post-meeting press conference that the next Fed action would not likely be a rate hike. That alleviated a lot of fear that interest rates might tick back up as inflation rose in March.

As a result, the markets moved higher, especially small caps and the technology sector, which tend to be more affected by higher rates.

The other big news last week was earnings results from two of the Magnificent Seven: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Amazon had a strong first quarter, with net sales jumping 13% and net income rising some 225%, led by growth in Amazon Web Services. Amazon stock jumped nearly 4% last week.

Apple, the laggard among the Magnificent Seven, beat earnings estimates but did not have a great quarter, as its revenue declined from the same quarter a year ago. However, guidance for revenue gains in Q2 and a huge $100 billion stock buyback plan, along with upcoming product releases, gave investors hope that the iPhone maker will bounce back.

That comeback started last week, as Apple stock was one of the top performers on the S&P 500, surging 8.3% last week.

Disney set to report on Tuesday

The Magnificent Seven have now all posted their quarterly earnings results, and for the most part, they were strong. However, that strength has not necessarily translated into gains for the overall market, as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each fell about 4% in April, their first losing month since October.

While the Mag-7 companies may be done posting their latest results, there are some other big names posting earnings numbers this week, starting with Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) on Tuesday. Disney has been the best performer on the Dow Jones Industrial Average year-to-date, soaring 26%

The company’s proxy challenge is now behind it after improvements in expense management and streaming earned it a vote of confidence among investors. Analysts expect a strong quarter, estimating an 18% year-over-year increase in revenue. We’ll see if the House of Mouse delivers.

Also this week, social-media company Reddit (NYSE:RDDT) is scheduled to issue its first earnings report as a public company on Tuesday, Meanwhile, semiconductor companies Arm Holdings (NASDAQ:ARM) and Allegro MicroSystems (NASDAQ:ALGM) are due to report Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Boosted by Berkshire

The markets may also have gotten a lift early Monday from the solid first-quarter earnings results reported by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) on Saturday.

Other support may be stemming from some hopeful anticipation for the upcoming speeches by the presidents of the New York, Richmond, Va., and Minneapolis, Minn. Federal Reserve banks, which are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Investors will be looking for more insight on interest rates and are hoping for good news.