Data Points: U.S. Markets

The Dow Industrials rose 216.48 points, or 2.79% to 7978.08, its highest close since February 9. The Nasdaq Composite added 51.03 points, or 3.29% to 1602.63, its highest close since January 8.


Does This Rally Have Room to Run?

Since stocks hit a low on March 9, the major averages have all rallied by at least 20%. The move developed rapidly – indexes more or less turned on a dime – and investors watched the rally with a wary eye, noting that short-covering was somewhat responsible for the gains, since financial shares and consumer-discretionary stocks led the way.

After two days of gains to open the month of April, investment strategists are starting to believe. “We’ve all sort of seen this show before,” says Leo Grohowski, chief investment officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management. “We got a 20% move off the November lows, and we gave that all back, and then some.”

Following the end of the first quarter, when funds dress up their portfolio by adding stocks that have been performing well, it was anticipated that stocks would pull back a bit. Earnings are expected to be dismal, as more than four companies have lowered expectations for every one that has raised expectations in this quarter, according to Strategas Research Partners. The S&P 500’s 24% move looks ripe for hacking away at given the expectations for a tough economic road going forward.

FASB: We Haven’t Voted Yet!

The Financial Accounting Standards Board is meeting Thursday morning on proposed moves to soften controversial “mark-to-market” accounting rules, but the board hasn’t yet voted on the measures – contrary to some reports.

“They have not acted yet,” FASB spokesman Neal McGarity said in an email message.

Marking the Market Rally

The Financial Accounting Standards Board, taking its cue from the Kinks, are giving the people what they want, and it’s going to result in a buying burst in the early going, particularly for the banking stocks.

FASB voted to officially adopt new guidelines under the so-called mark-to-market accounting rules, those that required companies to value assets at prices reflecting current market conditions. There are many who believe this change is alchemic, and will allow the financial institutions in question to mask the true value of assets they hold on their balance sheets, but some argue that this will shore up capital ratios and remove an unnecessary handicap that the banks have had to contend with for months.

In premarket action, shares of American International Group gained 13 cents to $1.20 a share, while Bank of America rose 12% to $7.88 a share, and Citigroup gained 30 cents to $2.98 a share. Broader-market futures were higher. The S&P 500 futures rose 15.8 points and the Dow futures were up 122 points in advance of the opening bell.