Ignore VIX’s Lackluster Movement, and Take Note of S&P 500’s Impressive Surge: Here Are 4 Recommendations

Ignore VIX’s Lackluster Movement, and Take Note of S&P 500’s Impressive Surge: Here Are 4 Recommendations

An out-of-the-ordinary thing happened in the stock market in the first quarter. Wall Street’s fear gauge, better known as the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), and the broader S&P 500 climbed northward in the period.

Now, VIX is always associated with distress among investors, and the stock market may be bracing for a selloff. However, the S&P 500 hasn’t witnessed a pullback of more than 2% in quite some time and has instead registered its strongest first-quarter gains since 2019.

The VIX has jumped 4.5% since the beginning of the quarter to around 13, which is way below its long-term average of 20. On the other hand, the S&P 500 surged 10.2% during the first three-month period of this year and notched its 22nd record closing high of the year. The index achieved its first 17 record-high close in the first 50 trading sessions of this year, per Bespoke Investment Research.

The S&P 500 also outpaced other major bourses like the Dow and the Nasdaq, which gained 5.6% and 9.1%, respectively. Thus, it can be safely assumed that investors aren’t nervous this time around. Moreover, the VIX gained traction after hitting a closing low in December due to the mean reversion nature of implied volatility.

Nonetheless, the S&P 500’s marvelous rise was driven by AI optimism and expectations that the Federal Reserve will trim interest rates later this year. Tech stocks particularly advanced by leaps and bounds as AI contributed toward countless technological developments. Meanwhile, the Fed assured three interest rate cuts in the second half of 2024, and Chair Jerome Powell was not taken aback by the recent uptick in inflation. The Fed disregarded the jump in February’s PCE index.

Consumer outlays, by the way, picked up last month after a lull at the commencement of the year.  In that way, household spending boosted economic growth and helped the stock market scale upward as well. Consumer spending in the United States increased by 0.8% in February, its biggest gain since January 2023.

Hence, with recession worries on the ebb and the S&P 500 moving up, it’s prudent for astute investors to place their bets on solid stocks listed on the index that have not only gained in the first quarter but also are positioned to advance in the near future.

These stocks are Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN, Deckers Outdoor Corporation DECK, W.W. Grainger, Inc. GWW and NVIDIA Corporation NVDA. These stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a Growth Score of A or B, a combination that offers the best opportunities in the growth investing space. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks Rank #1 stocks here.

Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce providers. Amazon currently has a Zacks Rank #2 and a Growth Score of A. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 11.2% over the past 60 days. AMZN’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 40.7%.

Deckers Outdoor is a leading producer and brand manager of innovative, niche footwear. Deckers Outdoor currently has a Zacks Rank #1 and a Growth Score of A. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 12.4% over the past 60 days. DECK’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 38.7%.

W.W. Grainger is a business-to-business distributor of maintenance, repair, and operating products and services. W.W. Grainger currently has a Zacks Rank #2 and a Growth Score of B. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 1.7% over the past 60 days. GWW’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 7.1%.

NVIDIA is the worldwide leader in visual computing technologies. NVIDIA currently has a Zacks Rank #1 and a Growth Score of B. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has moved up 19.5% over the past 60 days. NVDA’s expected earnings growth rate for the current year is 84%.

Shares of Amazon, Deckers Outdoor, W.W. Grainger and NVIDIA have soared 18.7%, 40.8%, 22.8% and 82.5%, respectively, so far this year.

Ignore VIX’s Lackluster Movement, and Take Note of S&P 500’s Impressive Surge: Here Are 4 Recommendations

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