Today’s Market Wrap Up and a Glimpse Into Friday

Stocks finished the day in the green after investors were able to brush off signs that the economic recovery may have hit a snag. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on more than 150 points, while the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq also inched higher. The market indices showed resilience even as the delta variant threatens to throw a wrench into economic expansion for the rest of the year.

Second-quarter GDP expanded at an annual rate of 6.5%, which catapults the economy beyond pre-COVID levels but falls short of estimates. Meanwhile, the forecast for the rest of the year could be threatened by the uncertainty from the delta variant. Companies have responded by delaying the return to the office or in some cases reinstating mask policies for consumers. It’s déjà vu all over again.

Investors were able to focus on the glass half full. For example, consumer spending and corporate earnings have been bright spots of late. Meanwhile, supply chain issues seem to be a stumbling block.

Stocks to Watch

Amazon reported its Q2 results, and the stock sank 5% in after-hours trading. While the e-commerce giant reported revenue of slightly more than USD 113 billion, Wall Street analysts were looking for USD 115 billion. Amazon’s revenue outlook for Q3 also falls below consensus estimates, and the stock is being punished. The latest quarterly performance unfolded just before Jeff Bezos was replaced as CEO by Andy Jassy earlier this month.

Pinterest is also under pressure in extended-hours trading, falling 14%. The company fell short on its number of monthly active users, which came in at 454 million compared to estimates of 482 million. This indicator could also come back to bite Pinterest in Q3, for which management failed to provide any forecast and blamed the pandemic.

Robinhood’s IPO was a flop after the stock fell more than 8% on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq. The trading app’s shares opened at USD 38 and finished the day at just under USD 35. Robinhood sought to appeal to retail investors but was in for a rude awakening. The broker finished the day with a market cap of USD 29 billion.

Look Ahead

On the economic front, Personal Income & Spending for the month of June comes out on Friday. Wells Fargo economists predict that income fell 0.2% while spending increased 2% vs. May levels. The weaning away of the stimulus is pressuring incomes.

Twitter Rallies to a 6-Year High

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) rallied to a 6-year high in the first hour of Wednesday’s U.S. session, following a key JPMorgan upgrade. The stock has been on a roll so far in 2020, now posting an impressive 72% year-to-date return. Even so, the social media giant is still trading 20 points below December 2013’s all-time high at 74.73, highlighting years of sub-par performance compared to rival Facebook Inc. (FB) and other industry players.

Trading at Discount to Rivals

The stock is trading at a substantial discount to Snap Inc. (SNAP) and Pinterest Inc. (PINS), with both issues zooming to all-time highs this year. However, a new advertising platform, ongoing activist pressure, and a management buyback plan are improving mixed sentiment, raising odds the company will earn up to 30 times 2022 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and 9.5 times projected 2022 revenue.

JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth upgraded the stock to ‘Overweight’ on Wednesday, raising the price target to $65 while noting, “we are bullish on online advertising in 2021 and expect industry growth to reaccelerate. We believe Twitter will show the biggest rebound given its sharper pandemic-driven ad decline, along with revenue prioritization throughout the company, early benefits from rebuilt ad tech through the new Ad Server and rollout of Map 2.0, and increases in both advertiser count and ad load”.

Wall Street has been playing ‘catch-up’ throughout the year, with Twitter outperforming their modest expectations. Consensus stands at a mixed ‘Hold” rating based upon 7 ‘Buy’ and 19 ‘Hold’ recommendations. One analyst now recommends that shareholders close positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets currently range from a low of just $36 to a Street-high $65 while the stock opened Wednesday’s session $8 above the median $47 target.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

A 7-week rally has now mounted resistance at the .618 Fibonacci retracement of the 2013 to 2016 downtrend at 51, opening the door to continued upside that should reach the .786 retracement at 62. That price level is narrow-aligned with multiple whipsaws that followed the 2014 reversal, marking the last major barrier before Twitter reaches and tests the all-time high in the 70s. While all systems are ‘go’, a trip into that peak could easily take another 6 to 12 months.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.