CNBC Daily Open: Markets rallied because nothing broke yesterday

Signage outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, US on Thursday, March 23, 2023.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images

This report is from today’s CNBC Daily Open, our new, international markets newsletter. CNBC Daily Open brings investors up to speed on everything they need to know, no matter where they are. Like what you see? You can subscribe here.

U.S. stocks rallied Wednesday as both banks and big tech rebounded. For markets still reeling from the banking crisis, no news is good news.

What you need to know today

  • Thursday brings a raft of China-related news as the Boao Forum for Asia, widely viewed as China’s answer to the World Economic Forum, proceeds.
  • U.S. stocks rallied broadly Wednesday — all major indexes rose, and all 11 S&P 500 sectors traded higher. Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed Thursday. One bright spot: Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.89% to hit a two-week high, helped by mining, bank and tech stocks.
  • UBS’ incoming (and previous) CEO, Sergio Ermotti, is known for turning around a troubled bank — which is why he was tasked to oversee the merger with Credit Suisse, UBS said. Traders liked the bank’s new leader — U.S.-listed ones jumped 4.31%.
  • PRO The tumult in banks has affected regional banks badly — some have lost more than 30% in value this month. But Goldman Sachs said there are some regional banks that could emerge from the turmoil as winners.

The bottom line

Yesterday was an excellent day for stocks, and the biggest banking news was positive (maybe not for outgoing UBS CEO Ralph Hamers, but definitely in terms of shareholder value). Could we finally be turning a corner after three tumultuous weeks?

First, UBS’ new (old) CEO. Both analysts and investors liked the Swiss bank’s pick. As Beat Wittmann, partner at Zurich-based Porta Advisors, told CNBC, Ermotti is “proven, trustworthy in the view of the public at large and also the industry.” Investors agreed — UBS shares jumped in both Switzerland and the U.S.  

The appointment seemed to assuage fears of wider banking turmoil. In the U.S., banks rose on the news. Citigroup climbed 1.61%, Wells Fargo advanced 2.12% and Morgan Stanley increased 1.6%. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) added 1.07%.

After a two-day slide, big tech rebounded, too. The biggest winners yesterday: Amazon popped 3.1%, Netflix climbed 2.63% and Meta rose 2.33%. Investors may have been encouraged by Alibaba’s split into six units, which could serve as a model for other big tech companies.

Micron’s report that the company’s inventory problems are improving helped its shares jump 7.19% and led a rally in semiconductor stocks — a feat more impressive considering the company announced a bigger-than-expected loss for the last quarter.

All major indexes gained on the back of these moves. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1%, the S&P 500 added 1.4% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.8%. Clearly, market sentiment was running high yesterday, even if there was no clear cause for it. Or perhaps it was precisely the lack of any significant event that cheered markets. As Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, put it, “Every day that something doesn’t break is a good day.”

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