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Stock market news live updates: S&P 500 reaches record high as tech soars; yields steady

Emily McCormick
·Reporter
·9 min read
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 Stocks rallied on Thursday, with the broader market reaching a new record while technology and blue-chip stocks flirting with recent records, as investors brace themselves for the flood of first-quarter earnings likely to show Corporate America coasting on an incipient economic boom.

[Click here to read what's moving markets heading into Friday, April 9]

Technology stocks outperformed, leading the Nasdaq to its best close since February and S&P 500 to a fresh peak, , Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Facebook (FB) each also hit all-time highs. Meanwhile, the Dow edged higher in quiet trading, closing just shy of its intraday record near 33,618. 

Since scaling to new highs last week, stocks have been trading in a holding pattern for much of this week. Risk assets got a small boost after the Federal Reserve signaled in its March meeting minutes that most monetary policymakers favored keeping monetary policy highly accommodative as the economic recovery continues, signaling that they will hold off on tightening at the first signs of inflation during the rebound. 

"A big part of this is making sure the vaccine-led recovery is firmly rooted, and that won't be clear until somewhere in the second half of this year. So it's possible that as we look out to the late summer timeframe or early fall that that's something that we could consider at that point," Jeffrey Kleintop, Charles Schwab chief global investment strategist, told Yahoo Finance. 

"But until then, there's still a lot of risks. and just to backtrack it, we know that monetary policy works with a lag, and so it makes more sense to ensure that we're on solid footing before you begin to take your foot off the pedal," Kleintop added.

In absence of major economic data releases or earnings this week, investors have fixed their focus to next week, when corporate results for the first three months of 2021 will begin to trickle in. 

Estimates have been revised up by a record margin over the past several weeks, as analysts took into account the expected earnings growth coming alongside increasing economic growth. Cyclical stocks like financials and energy names, which have profits closely linked to the pace of the economic recovery, have been among the biggest recent beneficiaries. 

“We’re still in probably the early parts of the expansionary cyclical after recovering from that recession,” Omar Aguilar, Charles Schwab chief investment officer of passive equities and multi-asset strategies, told Yahoo Finance. “We’ve started to see cyclical trades playing a big role in the early part of the cycle. Normally what happens at this stage is you continue to see … the cyclical component will continue to drive leadership into the second part of this year into next year.”

At the same time, however, other strategists warned that much of the recovery may already be priced into U.S. equities. And as expectations rise, earnings will need to clear an even greater hurdle in order to impress Wall Street and push stock prices up further. 

"As bottom-up S&P 500 Q1 and 2021 EPS estimates saw some of the biggest increases on record during the first three months of the year. The price strength exhibited in U.S. equities left the S&P 500 just 3.1% off our 2021 year-end price target with risk to our target now slanted to the upside," Brian Belski, BMO Capital Markets chief investment strategist, wrote in a note. The firm maintained its 2021 price target of 4,200 on the S&P 500. 

"We believe investors should be prepared for a second half of the year that will likely be weaker in terms of price gains compared to 1H as the reopening and cyclicals trade matures and investors start to digest the implications of an EPS-driven environment," Belski added. 

4:04 p.m. ET: Stocks boosted by tech resurgence, steady yields; S&P 500 reaches record as Dow flirts with new high

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:04 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +17.20 (+0.42%) to 4,097.15

  • Dow (^DJI): +56.13 (+0.17%) to 33,502.39

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +140.47 (+1.03%) to 13,829.31

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.02 (-0.03%) to $59.75 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$14.60 (+0.84%) to $1,756.20 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -2.1 bps to yield 1.6320%

3:10 p.m. ET: Impossible Foods gears up for listing: Report

According to Reuters, the company that helped popularize fake meat is mulling a stock market offering that will value the plant-based burger maker at a whopping $10 billion. The alternative food trend has been one of the most explosive of the COVID-19 era, with Impossible and Beyond Meat (BYND) reaping the benefits of surging demand and a growing emphasis on health-conscious eats.

12:45 p.m. ET: Powell cites 'unevenness' in U.S. economic recovery, notes pace of global vaccinations remains a risk to outlook 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell, speaking at a virtual International Monetary Fund conference Thursday afternoon, highlighted the choppy recovery in the U.S. labor market as a signal of the distance still left for the economy to make up before the Fed's goals for full employment have been met. He added that the Fed is also considering the pace of global vaccinations as a potential risk to the outlook, with vaccinations internationally generally taking place at a lower rate than they are in the U.S. 

"The recovery though here remains uneven and incomplete. Tee burden is still falling on lower income workers. The unemployment rate in the bottom quartile is still 20%. There's still eight and a half million people out of work," Powell said. "This unevenness that we're talking about is a very serious issue."

"What we've said about our asset purchases is that they would continue at the current pace until we see substantial further progress toward our goals, and that will be actual progress – we're not looking at forecasts for this purpose." I would look at global vaccinations as a risk really, something to weigh in as a risk to the progress that we are making. So it's something that we track very carefully of course." 

11:16 a.m. ET: Sen. Sherrod Brown calls on banks to give more answers about Archegos implosion 

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the Chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, wrote letters to banking leaders at Credit Suisse, Nomura and Goldman Sachs pressing the institutions on their ties to Archegos Capital, which defaulted on significant margin calls several weeks ago. In doing so, the situation stirred up volatility in stocks including Viacom as banks unwound their positions, and left banks including Credit Suisse to take significant losses. 

"I am troubled, but not surprised, by the news reports that Archegos entered into risky derivatives transactions facilitated by major investment banks, resulting in panicked selling of stocks worth tens of billions of dollars and those banks collectively losing nearly $10 billion," Brown said in the letter sent to the banks. "Similar failures in the past, including Long-Term Capital Management and Amaranth Advisors, demonstrate the hazards to market stability and investor confidence when excessive leverage is combined with careless risk taking." 

Brown is seeking responses to a host of questions over the banks' involvement with Archegos by April 22, according to the letter. 

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open mixed, S&P 500 hits record high

Here's where markets were trading shortly after the opening bell Thursday morning: 

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +10.88 points (+0.27%) to 4,090.83

  • Dow (^DJI): -16.25 points (-0.05%) to 33,430.01

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +111.45 points (+0.83%) to 13,804.3

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.45 (-0.75%) to $59.32 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$10.30 (+0.59%) to $1,751.90 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.1 bps to yield 1.644%

8:30 a.m. ET: Jobless claims unexpectedly rose to a three-week high last week

New weekly jobless claims unexpectedly jumped last week to reach the highest level in three weeks, despite other signs of strengthening labor market trends across the recovering economy. 

New jobless claims totaled 744,000 for the week ended April 3, the Labor Department said. Consensus economists were looking for claims to fall to 680,000, from the upwardly revised 728,000 from the prior week. Continuing jobless claims were also higher than expected at 3.734 million versus the 3.638 million expected, though last week's continuing claims were downwardly revised to 3.75 million. 

7:06 a.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures trade mixed, Nasdaq futures gain 0.9%

Here's where markets were moving as of 7:06 a.m. ET Thursday morning;

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,082.75, up 12.75 points or 0.31%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,311.00, down 17 points or 0.05%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,729.5, up 124.75 points or 0.92%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.41 (-0.69%) to $59.36 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$5.00 (+0.29%) to $1,746.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.7 bps to yield 1.647%

6:00 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures edge up 

Here's where markets were trading Wednesday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,074.75, up 4.75 points or 0.12%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,344.00, up 16 points or 0.05%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,627.00, up 22.25 points or 0.16%

People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street and the  'Fearless Girl' statue on March 23, 2021 in New York City. - Wall Street stocks were under pressure early ahead of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell as US Treasury bond yields continued to retreat. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
People walk past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street and the 'Fearless Girl' statue on March 23, 2021 in New York City. - Wall Street stocks were under pressure early ahead of congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chief Jerome Powell as US Treasury bond yields continued to retreat. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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The Bank of Korea is likely to hold its benchmark rate, too.On HoldTurkish policy makers will probably keep the benchmark one-week repo rate unchanged at 19% on Thursday, according to most economists surveyed by BloombergTurkey’s central bank Governor Sahap Kavcioglu said last month markets shouldn’t take for granted that he’ll cut interest rates as soon as AprilThe lira slumped 10% last month after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s shock decision to replace the country’s central bank chiefThe benchmark rate was raised by a larger-than-expected 200 basis points at Naci Agbal’s final rate-setting meeting as governor on March 18“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like the new-look central bank to lower interest rates, but market forces will likely delay the delivery of his orders,” with inflation rising and the lira weakening, Bloomberg Economics said in a reportBank of Korea is likely to hold its benchmark rate at 0.5% at its Thursday meeting. In late March Governor Lee Ju-yeol dismissed calls to tighten policy early to tackle rising financial risks, even as he said he expects faster inflation and economic growth this yearSouth Korea is scheduled to announce its unemployment rate for March on Wednesday. Bloomberg Economics forecasts the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate to slide further to 3.8% in March from 4% in the previous monthElection WatchCareer banker Guillermo Lasso won Ecuador’s presidential election runoff after a late surge in the polls, preventing a return to socialism and reassuring bondholders in the default-prone countryLasso has pledged to attract foreign investors and create jobs via policies that help the private sectorThe nation’s recently restructured dollar bonds rallied on Monday as firms turned more bullishPeru is heading to a presidential runoff in June after early results of Sunday’s election showed no candidate getting anywhere close to the threshold needed to win outrightThe sol led losses among emerging-market currencies on Monday as initial results laid bare a politically fragmented nationChina CheckData on Friday is set to show China’s economy accelerated by a record 18.3% in the first three months of 2021, according to the median estimate of analysts surveyed by BloombergBefore that, trade figures are forecast to show a continued export boom while industrial production and retail sales are also expected to jumpThe People’s Bank of China is also seen injecting cash in the banking system via medium-term lending facilities on Thursday as 100 billion yuan ($15.2 billion) of one-year loans come due. Traders will be on the watch for any additional cash injection as liquidity is expected to tighten this quarter due to a surge in local government bond sales and tax payments“Looking ahead to April and May, we expect liquidity to stay on the tight side,” said David Qu, who covers China for Bloomberg Economics. “In our view, the PBOC is trying to avoid fueling financial risks -- without putting a choke on the economy. We think the central bank will need to inject more liquidity into the banking system”What Else to WatchTraders will watch out for further escalation between Russia and Ukraine after Russia warned that growing violence in Ukraine could set off a broader military conflictJPMorgan Chase & Co. moved to market-weight from overweight on the ruble and Russian rates due to escalating geopolitical tensions and asset underperformanceThe ruble was the second-worst performing emerging-market currency last week amid the tensionIndia’s consumer inflation accelerated in March, reinforcing the central bank’s decision to hold interest rates in its monetary policy last weekThe Reserve Bank of India will probably look past the near-term surge however and continue its hold on interest rates, according to Bloomberg IntelligenceIndia’s benchmark 10-year yield fell 15 basis points last week after the RBI announced 1 trillion rupees ($13.4 trillion) of debt purchasesIndustrial production is expected to decline further in February; India will also release trade figures alongside IndonesiaThe Philippines will release February overseas remittances data on ThursdayThe Czech Republic and Poland will report March’s consumer prices data on Tuesday and Thursday, respectivelyThe koruna and the zloty were among the best-performing emerging-market currencies last weekTraders will watch a reading of Peru’s economic activity gauge for February, which is expected to add to evidence that recovering growth lost momentum early in the first quarter, in line with increasing infections and lockdowns, according to Bloomberg EconomicsIn Brazil, investors will be watching for news on the nation’s 2021 budget gridlock, a significant local drivers this monthFebruary retail sales data on Tuesday, and unemployment figures on Friday will offer more information on how rising coronavirus cases has affected the economy.Colombia will post retail sales figures for February on ThursdayThe nation has had to return to lockdowns to fight the spread of Covid-19, which may imply downside risk for March, according to Bloomberg EconomicsBloomberg Economics expects Argentina’s March CPI data to show persistent inflationary pressure, despite price and currency controlsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

  • CoinDesk

    MicroStrategy Says Some of Its Board Directors to Be Paid in Bitcoin

    In making the announcement, the firm's board cited its "commitment to bitcoin."

  • Reuters

    US STOCKS-S&P 500, Dow set to ease from record levels; earnings, data in focus

    The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones indexes were set to open lower on Monday after closing at record levels in the previous session, as investors geared up for the start of the earnings season and a key inflation report this week. A pullback in the benchmark 10-year bond yield from 14-month highs in April eased worries about higher borrowing costs, helping richly valued technology stocks gain ground and drive the S&P 500 and the Dow to record levels.

  • Bloomberg

    Alibaba Unaware of Other Probes Under Anti-Monopoly Law

    (Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said that it’s unaware of any other probes by China’s antitrust regulator after the e-commerce giant was slapped with a record fine for its business practices.Apart from inquiries into mergers, acquisitions and strategic investments that span the entire internet industry, the company isn’t aware of any other investigations into its business by the State Administration for Market Regulation, executives told analysts on a conference call Monday. Going ahead, the firm will focus on providing better services for its customers and merchants while complying with regulators.“We experienced this scrutiny and we’re happy to get this matter behind us,” Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai told analysts. Large-scale internet companies are doing a lot of things to grow the economy, he added, “and we’re in the middle of this, promoting government policy.”Beijing fined Alibaba a record $2.8 billion after wrapping up a landmark probe into China’s e-commerce leader in just four months, versus the years such investigations take in the U.S. or Europe. That sent a clear message to the country’s largest corporations and their leaders that anti-competitive behavior will have consequences.Following the probe into the e-commerce platform, regulators will now be keen to look at other areas where unfair competition may exist, Tsai said. They are also focusing on data privacy and protection, something that the firm is cooperating with the government on.For Alibaba, the fine was less severe than many feared and helps lift a cloud of uncertainty hanging over founder Jack Ma’s internet empire. The 18.2 billion yuan penalty was based on just 4% of the internet giant’s 2019 domestic revenue, regulators said. While that’s triple the previous high of almost $1 billion that U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. handed over in 2015, it’s far less than the maximum 10% allowed under Chinese law.The fine came with a plethora of “rectifications” that Alibaba will have to put in place -- such as curtailing the practice of forcing merchants to choose between Alibaba or a competing platform -- many of which the company had already pledged to establish.Record Alibaba Fine Shows China’s Big Tech Can’t Fight BackAlibaba on Monday said it doesn’t rely on exclusivity to retain merchants and doesn’t expect “material negative impact” from changes to such arrangements. Only a small number of flagship stores had been under exclusive arrangements previously, but businesses today are operating on multiple platforms, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang said.The impact of the fine will be reflected in the company’s earnings for the March quarter. Alibaba has also set aside billions of yuan of additional spending to support initiatives for merchants, executives said.(Updates with more details from the call starting in fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    SPAC Boom Faces New SEC Threat With Accounting Crackdown

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. regulators are throwing another wrench into Wall Street’s SPAC machine by cracking down on how accounting rules apply to a key element of blank-check companies.The Securities and Exchange Commission is setting forth new guidance that warrants, which are issued to early investors in the deals, might not be considered equity instruments and may instead be liabilities for accounting purposes. The move, reported earlier by Bloomberg News, threatens to disrupt filings for new special-purpose acquisition companies until the issue is resolved.The accounting considerations mark the latest effort by the SEC to clamp down on the white-hot SPAC market. For months, the regulator has been raising red flags that investors aren’t being fully informed of potential risks associated with blank-check companies, which list on public stock exchanges to raise money for the purpose of buying other entities.The SEC began reaching out to accountants last week with the guidance on warrants, according to people familiar with the matter. A pipeline of hundreds of filings for new SPACs could be affected, said the people, who asked not to be named because the conversations were private.“The SEC indicated that they will not declare any registration statements effective unless the warrant issue is addressed,” according to a client note sent by accounting firm Marcum that was reviewed by Bloomberg.In a SPAC, early investors buy units, which typically includes a share of common stock and a fraction of a warrant to purchase more stock at a later date. They’re considered a sweetener for backers and have thus far been considered equity instruments for accounting purposes. Sponsor teams -- the management of a SPAC -- are also typically given warrants as part of their reward to find a deal, on top of the founder shares.In a statement late Monday, SEC officials urged those involved in SPACs to pay attention to the accounting implications of their transactions. They said that a recent analysis of the market had shown a fact pattern in transactions in which “warrants should be classified as a liability measured at fair value, with changes in fair value each period reported in earnings.”“The evaluation of the accounting for contracts in an entity’s own equity, such as warrants issued by a SPAC, requires careful consideration of the specific facts and circumstances for each entity and each contract,” the officials said in the statement.The SEC issued its guidance after a firm asked the agency how certain accounting rules applied to SPACs, according to another person familiar with the matter. It’s unclear how many companies will be impacted by the move and not all warrants will be affected. Still, regulators consider it likely to be a widespread issue. Firms will be expected to review their statements and correct any material errors, said the person.The shift would spell a massive nuisance for accountants and lawyers, who are hired to ensure blank-check companies are in compliance with the agency. SPACs that are already public and that have struck mergers with targets may have to restate their financial results, the people familiar with the matter said.More than 550 SPACs have filed to go public on U.S. exchanges in the year to date, seeking to raise a combined $162 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That exceeds the total for all of 2020, during which SPACs raised more than every prior year combined.The deluge has overwhelmed those responsible for reviewing filings at the SEC, triggered a surge in liability insurance rates for blank-check companies and fueled market anxieties that the bubble is about to burst.(Updates with SEC guidance starting in second paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

  • MarketWatch

    ‘It would be nice to spend money and go on vacations’: I’m 58 and have lived in my home for 40 years. Can I afford a house and semi-retirement?

    ‘The Big Move’ is a MarketWatch column looking at the ins and outs of real estate, from navigating the search for a new home to applying for a mortgage. The costs of homeownership are rising quickly across the country, so you’re not alone in feeling burdened.

  • TipRanks

    The Dip in These 3 Stocks Is a ‘Buying Opportunity,’ Say Analysts

    The investing game is rarely plain sailing. While no doubt investors would like the choices that make up their portfolio to always go up, the reality is more complicated. There are periods when even shares of the world’s most successful companies have been on a downward trajectory for one reason or another. While it’s no fun watching a stock you own drift to the bottom, any savvy investor knows that if the company’s fundamentals are sound to begin with, the pullback is often a gift in disguise. This is where the chance for strong returns really comes into play. “Buy the Dip” is not a cliché without reason. With this in mind, we scoured the TipRanks database and picked out 3 names which have been heading south recently, specifically ones pinpointed by those in the know as representing a buying opportunity. What’s more, all 3 are rated Strong Buys by the analyst consensus and projected to rake in at least 70% of gains over the next 12 months. Here are the details. Flexion Therapeutics (FLXN) Let’s first take a look at Flexion, a pharma company specializing in the development and commercialization of therapies for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain. The company has two drugs currently in early-stage clinical trials but one which has already been approved by the FDA; Zilretta is an extended-release corticosteroid for the management of osteoarthritis knee pain. The drug was granted regulatory approval in 2017, and Flexion owns the exclusive worldwide rights. FLXN stock has found 2021 hard going and is down by 30% year-to-date. However, the “recent weakness,” says Northland analyst Carl Byrnes has created a “unique buying opportunity.” Like many biopharmas, Flexion’s marketing efforts took a hit during the height of the pandemic last year, as shutdowns and restrictions impacted its operations. However, Byrnes anticipates Zilretta to exhibit “stellar growth in 2021 and beyond.” “We remain highly confident that the demand for ZILRETTA will continue to strengthen, bolstered by product awareness and positive clinical experiences of both patients and HCP, augmented by improvements in HCP interactions and deferral of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) surgical procedures,” the analyst said. Byrnes expects Zilretta’s 2021 sales to surge by 45% year-over-year to $125 million, and then increase by a further 50% to $187.5 million the following year. That revenue growth will go hand in hand with massive share appreciation; Byrne’s price target is $35, suggesting upside of ~339% over the next 12 months. Needless to say Byrne’s rating is an Outperform (i.e. Buy). (To watch Byrnes’ track record, click here) Barring one lone Hold, all of Byrne’s colleagues agree. With 9 Buys, FLXN stock boasts a Strong Buy consensus rating. While not as optimistic as Byrne’s objective, the $20.22 average price target is still set to yield returns of an impressive 153% within the 12-month time frame. (See FLXN stock analysis on TipRanks) Protara Therapeutics (TARA) Staying in the pharma industry, next up we have Protara. Unlike Flexion, the cancer and rare disease-focused biotech has no therapies approved yet. However, the picture should soon become clear regarding the timing of a BLA (biologics license application) for TARA-002, the company’s investigational cell therapy for a rare pediatric indication - lymphatic malformations (LM). TARA-002 is based on the immunopotentiator OK-432, currently approved as Picibanil in Japan and Taiwan for the treatment of multiple cancer indications as well as LM. Currently, Protara is seeking to get the FDA’s acceptance that TARA-002 is comparable to OK-432. If everything goes according to plan, the company anticipates potential BLA filing in H2:2021 and potential approval in H1:2022. Protara shares have tumbled 40% year-to-date. That said, Guggenheim analyst Etzer Darout believes the stock is significantly undervalued. “We estimate risk-adjusted peak sales of ~$170M (75% PoS) in the US alone (biologics exclusivity to 2034-2035),” the 5-star analyst said. “The company has outlined a ‘no additional study scenario’ that estimates a US launch in 2022 and an ‘additional registration study’ scenario that estimates a 2023 launch and we see current levels as a buying opportunity ahead of regulatory clarity on LM.” Furthermore, Tara is expected to submit an IND (investigational new drug) for a Phase 1 trial for TARA-002 in 2H21 for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Darout notes 80% (~65K) of all newly diagnosed bladder cancer patients suffer from this specific condition including ~45% “that are high grade with high unmet need.” The company also owns IV Choline, a Phase 3-ready asset, for which the FDA has already granted both Orphan Drug Designation and Fast Track Designation for IFALD (intestinal failure-associated liver disease). Based on all of the above, Darout rates TARA a Buy and has a $48 price target for the shares. The implication for investors? Upside of a strong 225%. (To watch Darout’s track record, click here) Overall, with 3 recent Buy ratings under its belt, TARA gets a Strong Buy from the analyst consensus view. The stock is backed by an optimistic average price target, too; at $43.67, the shares are anticipated to appreciate by ~198% in the year ahead. (See TARA stock analysis on TipRanks) Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF) Last but not least is Green Thumb, a leading US cannabis MSO (multi state operator). This Chicago-based company is one of the stalwarts of the rising cannabis sector, boasting the second highest market-cap in the industry and exhibiting impressive growth over the last year. In 2020, revenue increased by 157% from 2019, to reach $556.6 million. That said, despite delivering another excellent quarterly statement in March, and being well-positioned to capitalize on additional states legalizing cannabis, the stock has pulled back recently after the company was hit by a damning Chicago Tribune article. According to Chicago Tribune, the company is being investigated by the fed over "pay to play" payments regarding the procurement of cannabis licenses in Illinois. Countering the claims, GTBIF management said the allegations are unfounded and that there is no factual evidence to support them. Furthermore, the company pointed out it has not even been contacted by the authorities regarding the matter. Who to believe, then? It’s an easy choice, according to Roth Capital’s Scott Fortune. “We believe these tenuous claims create an opportunity to own the best-in-class operator currently off 25% from recent highs,” the 5-atar analyst opined. “In our view, the GTI business and track record of execution is not at risk in terms of the seemingly baseless accusations. We will continue to monitor any new additional incremental evidence potentially surfacing but believe the allegations are unfounded. We believe the upside opportunity remains compelling at these levels.” Going by Fortune’s $45 price target, shares will be changing hands for a 70% premium a year from now. Fortune’s rating remains a Buy. (To watch Fortune’s track record, click here) The negative news has done little to dampen enthusiasm around this stock on Wall Street. The analyst consensus rates GTBIF a Strong Buy, based on a unanimous 12 Buys. The average price target, at $47.71, suggests an upside of 79% over the next 12 months. (See GTBIF stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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Summary | 5 Annotations
Stock futures traded mixed Thursday morning, with investors awaiting the start of first-quarter earnings season to confirm the boost to corporate profits expected against an improving economic backdrop. Technology stocks outperformed, and contracts on the Nasdaq gained 0.9%. 
2021/04/08 12:49
"A big part of this is making sure the vaccine-led recovery is firmly rooted, and that won't be clear until somewhere in the second half of this year. So it's possible that as we look out to the late summer timeframe or early fall that that's something that we could consider at that point," Jeffrey Kleintop, Charles Schwab chief global investment strategist, told Yahoo Finance. "But until then, there's still a lot of risks. and just to backtrack it, we know that monetary policy works with a lag, and so it makes more sense to ensure that we're on solid footing before you begin to take your foot off the pedal." 
2021/04/08 12:49
Story continues“We’re still in probably the early parts of the expansionary cyclical after recovering from that recession,” Omar Aguilar, Charles Schwab chief investment officer of passive equities and multi-asset strategies, told Yahoo Finance. “We’ve started to see cyclical trades playing a big role in the early part of the cycle. Normally what happens at this stage is you continue to see … the cyclical component will continue to drive leadership into the second part of this year into next year.”
2021/04/08 12:49
"As bottom-up S&P 500 Q1 and 2021 EPS estimates saw some of the biggest increases on record during the first three months of the year. The price strength exhibited in U.S. equities left the S&P 500 just 3.1% off our 2021 year-end price target with risk to our target now slanted to the upside," Brian Belski, BMO Capital Markets chief investment strategist, wrote in a note. The firm maintained its 2021 price target of 4,200 on the S&P 500. 
2021/04/08 12:49
"We believe investors should be prepared for a second half of the year that will likely be weaker in terms of price gains compared to 1H as the reopening and cyclicals trade matures and investors start to digest the implications of an EPS-driven environment," Belski added. 
2021/04/08 12:49