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A soaring Nasdaq is just one slice of the buy-anything market

The Nasdaq closed above 11,000 for the first time on Thursday, ending the session higher for the seventh time in a row and eighth session in nine. It has gained nearly 10% since July 1.

Why it matters: It's not just tech stocks that have rallied recently. Just about every asset class has jumped in the third quarter, including many that typically have negative or inverse correlations to each other.

What's happening: Big Tech stocks on the Nasdaq have surged, but small-cap stocks also have gained with the Russell 2000 up nearly 8% during the quarter.

  • So-called reopening stocks — companies like airlines and cruise ships that benefit from consumers returning to normal activity — have gained but so have stay-at-home stocks.
  • Oil is up more than 7% since the start of Q3 and emerging market stocks and currencies have both jumped in value.

The intrigue: Stocks, oil and EM are typically favored when investors are in risk-on mode, but safe-haven plays generally sought in times of market stress also have delivered strong returns this quarter.

  • The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield has declined 15 basis points from its July 1 level and 30-year bond yields have fallen by 23 points.
  • The German 10-year yield, considered the benchmark for safety in Europe, has fallen 14 basis points.
  • Precious metals, like gold and silver, have boomed, with gold rising to a fifth straight record high on Thursday, well above $2,000 per troy ounce.

Between the lines: The rally is happening as news about the U.S. and global economy worsens with the coronavirus pandemic claiming more lives and threatening more businesses across the globe.

  • Tensions in the U.S.-China trade war also have increased, and tariffs continue to weigh on company margins.
  • In the U.S., earnings are on pace for the worst quarter since 2009, according to FactSet.

The state of play: Many active investors are stumped by the market and are resigned to simply sit on the sidelines in cash while others are jumping into new products like so-called buffer ETFs, which function almost like annuities.

  • The buffer ETFs limit investors' losses but also cap their gains, making them a sort of "defined-outcome" fund, targeted toward retail investors and financial advisers, Karen Hube of Barron's writes.
  • Bloomberg's Katherine Greifeld notes that investors have poured more than $2.2 billion into buffer ETFs this year.

Justice Department drops lawsuit against John Bolton over Trump book

The Justice Department on Wednesday dropped its lawsuit against President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton over the publication of his tell-all book, “The Room Where it Happened.”

Why it matters: The move comes a year after the Trump administration sued Bolton in federal court, claiming he breached his contract by failing to complete a pre-publication review for classified information.

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Fed may raise rates sooner, as inflation is higher than expected

The Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged at its latest policy meeting,but a shift in sentiment emerged as to how soon it should begin raising rates.

Why it matters: The Fed's rock bottom rates policy and monthly asset purchases helped the U.S. markets avoid a meltdown during the COVID crisis last year. But as the economy recovers, a chorus is growing for the Fed to at least consider a timeline for pulling back its support before things get overheated.

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Naftali Bennett: How Israel's new PM plans to handle relations with Biden

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is signaling he intends to move cautiously at first on issues like Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an approach that will suit the Biden administration just fine.

Why it matters: Bennett is aiming to avoid an early confrontation with the U.S., and his fragile and ideologically diverse government will have a hard time taking any groundbreaking steps on foreign policy in the first place.

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Biden: Consequences for Russia would be "devastating" if opposition leader Navalny dies

President Biden said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin during Wednesday's summit that if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in prison, the consequences "would be devastating for Russia."

Why it matters: Although the White House had previously warned the Russian government over Navalny's imprisonment, Biden personally delivered the message to Putin on Wednesday.

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Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will support Juneteenth bill

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will support a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday when it comes to the floor later Wednesday, his office tells Axios.

Why it matters: The House is slated to pass a bill making June 19 — Juneteenth — a federal holiday that memorializes when the last enslaved people in Texas learned about their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation.

  • It will then go to President Biden for his signature just days before the occasion and one day after the Senate passed the bill unanimously.

Biden says he raised human rights issues in Putin summit

President Biden said he raised issues including nuclear arms control, cybersecurity, election interference and violations of human rights in Russia in his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "My agenda is not against Russia or anybody else. It's for the American people," Biden said at a press conference following the summit, which was shorter than expected.

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Putin calls talks with Biden "constructive," says ambassadors will return to posts

Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference immediately following the meetings.

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Southwest heat wave intensifies, 40 million likely to see 100-degree temperatures

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

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