Before The Bell - The stock market rocketed higher early yesterday, as a few acquisitions, including deals in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors, announced over the weekend helped improve trader sentiment. The markets also benefited from the resumption of some Phase III coronavirus vaccine trials. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 420 points in the first hour of trading, while the S&P 500 was up some 60 points. After the initial buying subsided, the market traded sideways throughout much of the day, giving up only a small portion of the gains. When all was said and done, the Dow closed higher by 328 points, while the S&P 500 rose 43 points, and the NASDAQ gained 203 points.

Market breadth was very positive, as advancers outpaced decliners by a 4.2-to-1.0 ratio. All 11 market sectors ended the day higher. REITs were among the best performers, while communications stocks were among the poorest performers, though only on a relative basis.

However, the futures market started in the red last evening, giving back a portion of the day's gains. After an initial move downward, the indices trended higher throughout the evening, and by midnight, they were in positive territory. They continued to march up through the night, and by morning, were solidly in the green, suggesting a highly positive start to the day.

In commodity news, meantime, oil prices were modestly higher yesterday, as traders thought a better economy would help improve fuel demand. Meantime, U.S. Treasury bond yields were flat on Monday, not moving much despite the strong stock market rally, which could signal that bond traders did not see the need to adjust their portfolios' risk levels. The VIX Volatility Index was down slightly yesterday, suggesting that options demand was mostly unmoved by the strong price action.

Looking ahead, most eyes will be looking to capacity utilization and industrial production figures for August, which should show how well the economy has been recovering from coronavirus-related shutdowns. Additionally, a few large companies will report quarterly results after the close today, including Adobe (ADBE) and FedEx (FDX), the latter of which should give further insight into economic activity levels. Looking ahead, we think that most investors will also be keeping an eye on the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index slated for release on Friday, which should show how consumers are faring in this economy.  – John E. Seibert III

At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.