These Were the S&P 500's Top Stocks on Tuesday

This week has started out well for the stock market, and after some early concerns, Wall Street sustained its positive momentum on Tuesday. Many investors are increasingly convinced that the Federal Reserve won’t raise interest rates any further, and that has some positive implications for many stocks. Gains for the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.58%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.40%), and S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.52%) were similar in percentage terms.


Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow Jones Industrials



S&P 500



Nasdaq Composite



Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

A few stocks managed to post much larger gains than the overall market. Within the S&P 500, Truist Financial (TFC 6.63%) was the top gainer. Solar energy stocks First Solar (FSLR 5.40%) and Enphase Energy (ENPH 5.01%) were close behind. Here’s the latest on why these stocks stood out on a strong Tuesday.

Truist aims to shore up its balance sheet

Truist Financial gained almost 7% on Tuesday. The Charlotte-based bank has been looking for ways to protect itself from the challenges that have hit regional banks this year, and it’s apparently close to achieving a major milestone in that effort.

Truist offers a wide array of financial services, and one driver of its success has been insurance sales. Because that business has been so valuable, it represents an attractive asset for raising cash, and reports surfaced overnight that Truist has been negotiating to sell its insurance unit for as much as $10 billion. The buyer could be Stone Point, a private equity company that has a history of working with Truist.

Truist already made its shareholders happy during the worst of the banking crisis in April when it worked with Stone Point to sell a 20% interest in the insurance business. That deal raised $1.95 billion, and the current discussed sale price seems to assume that Truist would retain a $5 billion preferred equity interest in the unit.

If interest rates are indeed hitting their highest point, then the capital that a sale would raise should be enough to get Truist through any short-term difficulties. That’s the conclusion most investors seem to be drawing.

Solar stocks get their day in the sun

The solar energy industry got a nice boost on Tuesday as well. Shares of First Solar and Enphase Energy were both up around 5% on the day.

In general, the solar power industry is somewhat more sensitive to borrowing costs than the typical business. In order to purchase a home solar installation, for example, many homeowners have to borrow against their home’s value. That was easy when mortgage rates were at 3%, but with current interest costs of between 7% and 8%, it’s a lot harder for some homeowners to justify the move to install a solar power system with modules like those made by First Solar and with microinverters like Enphase’s. The same is also true for utility-scale solar projects, again as financing costs make some marginal projects unattractive.

Today’s drop in Treasury yields brings hope that the financing cycle might finally start to grow more attractive again. That won’t necessarily mean good news for First Solar and Enphase, because if the drop in rates reflects a slowdown in expected economic strength, homeowners and others might no longer be able to afford solar installations.

Nevertheless, with oil prices remaining relatively high as well, the long-term prospects for solar stocks remain bright. If the good news continues, First Solar and Enphase Energy might see further gains from here.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Enphase Energy and Truist Financial. The Motley Fool recommends First Solar. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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