Dow Jones futures were little changed overnight, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures. Applied Materials (AMAT) reported after the close, while BBBY stock cratered overnight. The stock market rally is in a pullback near key resistance, but really isn’t pulling back, with the major indexes edging higher Thursday.
That’s a sign of strength, but a modest retreat would be constructive. Investors should be cautious about adding significant exposure in the very near future.
BJ’s Wholesale (BJ) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ) gapped out of bases on strong earnings, as both hail from areas of market strength. Exxon Mobil (XOM) flashed a buy signal as oil and gas stocks continue to lead with energy prices rising. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) is retreating, but is possibly setting up a new buying opportunity.
Meanwhile, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) suffered a “reversion to the meme,” plunging Thursday after GameStop (GME) Chairman Ryan Cohen, a big BBBY stock investor, announced plans to cash out. BBBY stock kept crashing overnight as Cohen completed his rapid exit.
Applied Materials earnings were better than expected in fiscal Q3, with the chip-equipment giant also guiding higher. AMAT stock climbed modestly in overnight trade, near a two-month high. Shares of the chip-equipment giant rose 2.1% to 108.27 on Wednesday. But Applied Materials stock is still significantly below its 200-day moving average.
AMAT earnings could be good news for rival KLA Corp. (KLAC). KLAC stock was quiet in extended trade after rising 1.85% to 382.02 on Thursday. It’s working on a 399.06 cup-with-handle buy point, and is on the cusp of breaking a trendline in that handle, which would offer an early entry.
Dow Jones Futures Today
Dow Jones futures were flat vs. fair value. S&P 500 futures edged lower. Nasdaq 100 futures was little changed, even with a slight boost from AMAT stock.
Stock Market Rally
The stock market rally traded in a narrow range for most of Thursday’s session.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose less than 0.1% in Thursday’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite climbed 0.2%. The small-cap Russell 2000 gained 0.7%.
U.S. crude oil prices rose 2.7% to $90.50 a barrel. Gasoline futures climbed 3.1%. Natural gas futures edged down 0.6%, but are right at 14-year highs.
The 10-year Treasury yield fell 1 basis point to 2.88%.
Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) rose 1.4%, while the Innovator IBD Breakout Opportunities ETF (BOUT) climbed 0.5%. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) lost a fraction. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) advanced 1.4%, with AMAT stock a notable component.
SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) climbed 2.4% and the Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF (PAVE) 0.7%. U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) dipped 0.3%. SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) edged up 0.4%. The Energy Select SPDR ETF (XLE) rallied 2.7%, with XOM stock a massive holding. The Financial Select SPDR ETF (XLF) nudged 0.1% higher%. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV) declined 0.4%.
Stocks Flashing Buy Signals
BJ’s stock gapped up 7.2% to 74.09, clearing a 71.10 buy point, though off its 77.47 high set soon after the open. Investors could still buy the gap-up or use an intraday chart to see if BJ’s stock can top the 75.50 area, around the bulk of Thursday’s trading. BJ’s Wholesale early Thursday reported its third straight quarter of accelerating earnings growth and a second quarter of faster revenue gains. The warehouse membership chain also guided higher.
CSIQ stock spiked 15% to 45.19, holding on to most of its intraday gains. Investors could buy Canadian Solar now or wait to see if it consolidates or pulls back modestly first.
Canadian Solar reported a 494% EPS gain with revenue running up 62%. The Energy-Solar group is rated No. 1 out of 197, with U.S.-based Enphase Energy (ENPH) leading the way.
Exxon stock rose 2.4% to 94.38, bouncing from its 50-day line and breaking a downtrend from the start of its consolidation in early June. The official buy point is 105.67. As a diversified energy giant with big exposure to crude oil, natural gas and refining, Exxon Mobil is well-positioned.
Vertex stock fell 1.65% to 294.29, pulling back for a third straight session in low, declining volume. But shares found support at the 21-day moving average. Investors could buy VRTX stock now or wait for a little strength.
BBBY Stock Crashes After Pump, Dump
BBBY stock tumbled 19.6% to 18.55 on Thursday, following a huge run in the past few weeks. Late Wednesday, Ryan Cohen, chairman of original meme stock GameStop, announced plans to sell his Bed Bath & Beyond holdings. Late Thursday, BBBY dived 44%, as Cohen disclosed that he was finished selling out his stake.
Furthermore, Bed Bath & Beyond, which in the real world is a money-losing housewares firm with tumbling sales, reportedly has hired a bankruptcy law firm to help it address an unmanageable debt load, Bloomberg reported Thursday night, citing a source.
BBBY, up 132% for the week at Wednesday’s high, is now down significantly for the week including the after-hours plunge.
As recently as Monday night, Cohen disclosed big out-of-the-money BBBY stock options, helping to fuel sharp gains on Tuesday-Wednesday.
But, while GameStop’s Cohen offered a pump-and-dump catalyst, Bed Bath & Beyond stock is following a familiar “reversion to the meme” script. Meme stocks often have a massive gain that gets widespread media attention, followed by one more big intraday gain that often fades or closes lower, with rapid declines following that.
While BBBY stock had surged earlier in August, Tuesday’s 79% intraday gain — 29% at the close — in record volume got attention. On Wednesday, shares spiked 45% intraday to a five-month high, but faded for a 12% advance, near session lows.
As for other meme stocks, GME stock fell 6.4% after sliding 4% on Wednesday. AMC Entertainment (AMC) tumbled 9.7%, below its 200-day line. AMC stock dived 14% on Wednesday.
GME stock and AMC fell overnight.
Market Rally Analysis
What if the market rally declared a pullback, but the pullback failed to show up? The major indexes have backed off slightly since the S&P 500 nearly hit its 200-day line on Tuesday, but none of the major indexes has even touched the 10-day moving average.
The Dow Jones continues to hold the 200-day moving average, with the S&P 500 index and Russell 2000 just below that key level.
The market rally’s resilience after a strong stretch is impressive. But more of a pullback would offer a chance for leading stocks to form handles or retreat to the 21-day lines. The major indexes themselves are only 3% or so above the 21-day line.
Individual stocks and sectors will vary. Energy stocks are coming on with rebounding prices, with Exxon Mobil and several others flashing buy signals in the past few days. Solar names look strong while heavy construction, steel and some transportation plays setting up.
Several chip names are coming on strong, along with some retailers like’s BJ’s Wholesale.
Biotechs such as VRTX stock are pulling back, which might offer some buying opportunities of their own.
The market rally could pause quietly for several days and then surge higher, but it could also go the other way. The Nasdaq trade tightly at end of last year, again in late March/early April, and in late May/early June. In every case, the tame action ended with sharp sell-offs.
What To Do Now
That’s why investors shouldn’t get too aggressive right now. There are some buying opportunities, and investors should consider them, but don’t significantly add exposure with the market direction unclear in the very near term.
You can still consider taking some partial profits along the way, with stocks still prone to giving up much of recent gains amid sector rotation. That’s also a way to manage your overall portfolio exposure.
The market pullback and various sectors moves are creating new setups, so don’t let up on your watchlists.
Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.
Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.
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