Good morning and welcome to the stock market today! As we reflect on the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic, Wall Street is not slowing down. So what will the stock market do today? Dive in below for some reflections and a few new stories to watch.
To start, the major indices this morning are all in the green. Brand-new Roblox (NYSE:RBLX) continues to trek higher, while investors eye new IPO Coupang (NYSE:CPNG). The South Korean e-commerce company promises to rival other big players in the market.
So what else will the stock market do today? Take a look at these three top stories.
What Will the Stock Market Do Today? Reflect.
Exactly one year ago the World Health Organization announced that Covid-19 was a pandemic.
At the time, health officials were tracking 118,000 cases and just over 4,200 deaths. Current data from Johns Hopkins University shows more than 2.6 million deaths worldwide. And beyond those numbers, even more has changed.
We all know the story of working from home, ordering takeout and navigating a new world of social distancing and distance learning. But what happened to the stock market? Perhaps one of the best roundups thus far comes from Morning Brew.
Despite early talks of the Great Depression and panic-induced selloffs, the S&P 500 climbed more than 50% within 2020. Investors flocked to buy stocks that benefitted from the pandemic environment, such as Zoom Video (NASDAQ:ZM) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA). ZM shares gained more than 450%, while MRNA shares added on nearly 600%. Investors also rushed to buy the dip on stocks hurt by the pandemic in hopes of getting into reopening trades early. Although the world has not fully reopened, this has benefitted cruise stocks like Carnival (NYSE:CCL) and other travel plays like American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) and Disney (NYSE:DIS).
So where do we go from here? Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package known as the American Rescue Plan. President Joe Biden will sign that plan on Friday, and direct payments of $1,400 should start mailing out by the end of March. He also announced that the U.S. will order another 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) vaccine. For some companies like AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC), hope explicitly rests on the vaccine rollout.
Mexico Goes Green
Last night lawmakers in Mexico City approved a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana. As Oscar Lopez wrote for the New York Times, the bill looks set to become law thanks to support from the Senate and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The current text of the bill would legalize recreational use and small-scale cultivation at home. Additionally, it would grant licenses to a variety of small farmers and commercial operators to grow and sell cannabis products. Importantly, this could make Mexico the largest market for cannabis in the world. It would also place the United States between two cannabis-selling countries. Could this put enough pressure on U.S. lawmakers to legalize recreational use?
One of the key parts of the cannabis stocks story is that investors are waiting on wider legalization and international expansion. While the U.S. has been in the spotlight, legal use in Mexico could help change the game. Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA) and Sundial Growers (NASDAQ:SNDL) were all up slightly on Thursday morning.
Another cannabis story to watch? Take a look at OrganiGram (NASDAQ:OGI). The company announced a deal with British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI) that will give it cash and fund a joint product development center. For OrganiGram, it could be the needed boost to enter international markets and expand its pipeline. OGI stock is up 30% after the opening bell.
A Hungry World?
One emerging story warrants a close look from investors.
According to the Food Price Index from the Food and Agriculture Organization, global food prices rose by 2.4% in February. Rising global food prices means that the poorest people are under more pressure to feed themselves and their families. Going beyond the initial number, U.S. food prices rose nearly 3% in 2020, at double the rate of inflation.
What does this mean right now? Bryan Walsh wrote for Axios that issues of food scarcity are high drivers of social unrest. Hope is high right now that the American Rescue Plan will ease pressure on Americans and address those economic concerns. However, investors should start to consider exactly what this means for food production companies. Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) and Conagra (NYSE:CAG) are already anticipating increasing the prices of their products.
On the date of publication, Sarah Smith did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
Sarah Smith is a Web Content Producer with InvestorPlace.com.