Need to Know: Stock-market bears look declawed after small caps soar to a record

The Mueller probe turns 1 year old today, while the bull market is nearly 9 ¼ years old.

That’s if you’re aging the S&P 500’s advance by its March 2009 low, which you totally don’t have to do.

But here’s a question: Will the special counsel’s investigation end before the market’s bull run?

Probably, suggest our call of the day and quote of the day.

The call comes from financial blogger and trader ChessNwine, while the quote is from Rudy Giuliani (not exactly a neutral third party) and appears further down.

Yesterday’s all-time closing high for a key small-cap index RUT, +1.00% has some traders saying “HOW EXCITING” or otherwise sounding bullish. And ChessNwine is in that camp.

The fresh records for the Russell 2000 IWM, +1.04% and a microcap gauge IWC, +1.10% represent “the inability of bears to make any headway,” he says in his latest video at his MarketChess blog.

“Bears are really going to have to pull the rabbit out of the hat, I think, to get some downside momentum,” he adds.

The action by the little guys is a “major focal point” for investors, the MarketChess scribe also says. A big issue for bulls is whether more of the stock market will join in the party, he notes. He’s encouraged by how shares in Macy’s M, +10.83%  , Fiesta Restaurant Group FRGI, +0.61%  , Noodles & Co. NDLS, -5.10% and even Crocs CROX, +3.25% are behaving.

“We want to see if bulls have what it takes really to take this market and run with it — if we do broaden out. We always have to stay on our toes, stay disciplined,” ChessNwine says. “Never become sloppy or assume too much.”

Factors that have helped small caps include lower exposure to trade worries, as well as higher exposure to the recent tax cuts. And they’re not suffering as much from the dollar’s uptrend.

Go here for ChessNwine’s full video.

Key market gauges

So maybe the bears still have their fangs, as futures for the Dow YMM8, -0.13%  , S&P 500 ESM8, -0.20% and Nasdaq-100 NQM8, -0.42% are in the red. That’s after the Dow DJIA, +0.25%  , S&P SPX, +0.41%  and Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.63% finished with gains yesterday.

The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -0.09% is around 3.09%. Europe SXXP, +0.15% is mostly higher, after Asia largely closed lower. Oil CLM8, +0.80% is gaining, while gold GCM8, -0.40% is losing ground. The dollar index DXY, +0.20% is up, and bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.09% has been trading around the $8,300 mark.

See the Market Snapshot column for the latest action.

The quote

“It’s been a year, he’s gotten more than 1.4 million documents, he’s interviewed 28 witnesses, and he has nothing. … It’s about time to get the darn thing over with.” — Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lawyer, sounds off on Fox News as special counsel Robert Mueller’s big probe hits a one-year anniversary.

“America’s mayor” also is claiming that Mueller’s team said they can’t indict a president.

The chart

“Every year I expect the number of births to go up and they don’t,” says one demographer.

The general fertility rate for American women age 15 to 44 has fallen to the lowest rate since the U.S. government began tracking it more than a century ago, according to CDC data released today.

The decline is shown in the Wall Street Journal chart above.

The federal figures also show that the number of babies born in the U.S. last year dropped to a 30-year low.

The buzz

Cisco CSCO, -0.70% looks on track for a fall after posting weaker-than-expected revenue late yesterday, and Take-Two Interactive Software TTWO, -0.35% also appears on pace for an earnings-driven drop.

Walmart WMT, +1.90% and J.C. Penney JCP, +5.50% are on the earnings docket ahead of the opening bell.

See: Amazon’s discount Prime effort threatens Walmart’s e-commerce business

And read: Here’s how Walmart will get its groove back

Natural gas infrastructure company Williams Cos. WMB, +0.40% plans to buy Williams Partners WPZ, +2.21% common shares in a $10.5 billion deal.

Want to make millennials mad? Tell them they should have twice their salary saved in retirement accounts by age 35.

Crypto news: The SEC created a fake ICO website, and prosecutors are punching out a virtual currency backed by Floyd Mayweather.

In other Washington news, Rex Tillerson just took a veiled shot at Trump, who has been blasting Mexico’s leaders, saying they “do nothing for us, especially at the border.”

Plus, the Senate has backed “net neutrality,” but don’t count on an actual reinstatement.

Updates for weekly jobless claims and the Philly Fed index are on tap before the open, then leading indicators hit once trading is underway.

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

On the Federal Reserve front, the Minneapolis Fed’s Neel Kashkari is due to make remarks just as East Coasters break for elevenses.

The pound GBPUSD, +0.0148% rose against the dollar following news that Brexit-bound Britain may stay in the EU’s customs union beyond 2021, but lately has erased gains.

Meanwhile, European Union officials have been venting over Trump’s policies.

Random reads

UBS predicts Germany will win the World Cup, soccer’s big prize.

Highbrow humor is great, but sometimes you just want to see a dude fall in a river.

One take on the NBA playoffs: Boston’s success shouldn’t be a surprise.

Baked Balts: Estonian municipality adds the cannabis leaf to its coat of arms.

The feds make a push to get the real “Wolf of Wall Street” to pay restitution.

Here’s what Meghan Markle means to the U.K.

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