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Friday, March 1, 2024

Kelly Evans: Dan Colarusso: The market’s new normal

 Our guest writer this week is CNBC's SVP of Business News, Dan Colarusso.  

I was planning to write a lighter note about what I call the Alt-Economy, opining on the future of alternative energy, alternative proteins, and alternative everything becoming mainstream, having a little fun with a piece from Outside on plant-based tuna appearing in the aisles of Whole Foods

But there is nothing light about the moment in which we are living. No matter your political beliefs, what happened a week ago today on Capitol Hill was jarring. And, to boot, it was set against the ominous backdrop of a global pandemic now killing more Americans each day than the country lost in the 9/11 attacks. 

The market, though, hasn't blinked and maybe that's because it, too, is at a moment. 

Where to start? Crypto currencies are riding a wave that has stunned in equal measure both true believers and critics. Stocks and the freshly recruited legion of individual investors buying them can't stop, won't stop. Tech darlings such as Docusign, Box and Crowdstrike are raising fresh capital in secondary stock offerings the fine journalists at The Information think could be fuel for an M&A wave. 

The opportunities are many and diverse. 

That's true even of the "old," and a hat-tip to CNBC's Ethan Kraft, who points out that seven stocks in the material sector have already popped at least 15% this year, with chemical and mining companies such as Albemarle, Mosaic, DuPont, and Freeport McMoRan among the big winners. 

Why? As Covid-19 vaccines start to work their way through the global population, there's a cork waiting to be popped off economic activity making the raw ingredients of building, batteries, and consumer products newly cherished. These could also be a haven for investors waiting out the uncertainty of the American inauguration or for Covid to recede. 

On the other end, there's a new power dynamic in the energy sector, led by names like Plug Power and Fuel Cell Energy. Fuel Cell has had a nice run despite tepid feelings from Wall Street, where only one out of eight analysts call it a buy.

PLUG is up almost 23%, just this week. 

Those are just two, but there are scores of others and more still held privately, waiting like Rapunzel to lower their locks maybe to a brave SPAC riding a white horse. 

But first, the order of the day is the second impeachment of a president who has twice lost the popular vote, just a week removed from historic violence directed at a democratically-elected government. We don't know what happens next but ideally, an inauguration and a return to civility.

 Then we turn back towards Covid-19 and the sped-up vaccine rollout to watch how businesses creep back to something like normal. The markets have been steadfastly focused on that bright spot on the horizon. 

And these days, whether in Washington or on Wall Street, normal has an increasingly nice ring to it. 

My thanks again to Dan for his thoughts this week! Headlines below. -Kelly

Twitter: @KellyCNBC

Instagram: @realkellyevans

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