The S&P 500 closed barely in positive territory on Wednesday as an expected stimulus deal and falling jobless claims prompted investors to put their money into sectors most likely to benefit from the economy re-opening when it recovers from the global health crisis.
While the blue-chip Dow and small caps led the gains, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended the session lower.
Economically vulnerable cyclical stocks, which were battered by mandated shutdowns and stand to benefit most from economic recovery, were outperforming.
The rotation into cyclicals reflects a growing confidence in recovery from the pandemic recession, and began in fits and starts after promising late-stage vaccine data was released in early November.
“It’s a very welcoming sign to see rotation into beaten down sectors,” said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. “It speaks to the importance to valuation and the importance of diversification.”
“It also speaks to the hope that is out there,” Keator added. “When you see oil pick up and travel and tourism industries pick up, it speaks to the market looking forward and pricing in that hope.”