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Reports of possible Meta layoffs could point to ‘self-help’ moment for megacap stocks

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This is the daily notebook of Mike Santoli, CNBC’s senior markets commentator, with ideas about trends, stocks and market statistics. The split market persists, with enough strength in energy, industrials and other value areas taking up the slack in recent weeks from reeling mega-cap growth shares — which themselves are finally bouncing from new lows. The upshot is a tape that continues to drift ahead of a couple more known catalysts — midterm election and CPI report — while so far hanging on to more than half the sharp reflex rally off the Oct. 13 CPI-report shock. The market is resilient, but so far without the momentum to escape the lower end of the six-month range or to surmount widely watched resistance. Apple is holding the S & P 500 and Nasdaq Composite in check, giving back more of its sizable outperformance and “stability premium,” though oversold Big tech is seeing some relief. Heavy layoffs at Meta hinting that a “self-help” moment has arrived to hep preserve mega-cap tech platform margins even as last week’s messy purge of busted-growth cloud stocks persists. The energy sector reached a new high by a few pennies, reasserting leadership — even if it starts to look a bit overly popular with investors bidding for scarce profit growth and momentum traders well committed to the group. By now, the history of markets and midterms is known to all, an encouraging set of atmospheric conditions for stocks, but there are never any guarantees. The S & P 500 since 1950 has never been down the six or 12 months after a midterm vote, and the returns on average for the post-midterm year are twice all other years. That’s an encouraging backdrop, but of course there have only been 18 midterm election years since 1950, not enough of a statistical record to go all-in on. There’s a school of thought, expressed by technical strategist John Kolovos at Macro Risk Advisors, that a “stealth bull market” could be brewing, with strength across smaller stocks, value, energy, industrials and health care somewhat obscured by heavy action in the big fallen growth leaders. Aside from energy, the performance advantage in those areas is mostly relative rather than absolute, but worth tracking. The U.S. dollar index is weaker again, now a few points off the highs, as markets seem willing to view last week’s jobs data and Fed comments as no more overheated/hawkish than anticipated. All of this is pretty contingent, the S & P 500 still churning under resistance, earnings forecasts inching lower, much reliance by bulls on positioning and seasonal factors. But it’s worth remember the recent lows were made amid widespread fear that the financial markets were set to break under policy pressure (Fed, UK, Bank of Japan) and earnings season was unimpressive but also not incrementally alarming. Market breadth is pretty evenly split, VIX steady near 25 – keeps popping early in the day and receding – and credit is hanging in there ok.

Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Carvana, Meta, Palantir, Viatris, Walgreens and more

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