What Did the Stock Market Do? Jan. 20, 2021

Latest Updates:

Stocks Close Out Wednesday Higher

[Wednesday, January 20, 4:04 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  • The S&P 500 closed higher by 1.39%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 0.89%
  • The Nasdaq Composite closed higher by 1.97%
  • The Russell 2000 closed higher by 0.44%

Big Tech Hits All-Time Highs

[Wednesday, January 20, 3:32 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

It is not surprising that several Silicon Valley leaders led the Nasdaq Composite to its record high today.

However, it is surprising to see Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) shares gain 5%. GOOGL was not alone, as peers Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) all shot higher. So what happened to Big Tech? And where did all of the pre-inauguration panic go?

Looking at the moves today, it seems as if new President Joe Biden may not be all that bad for the stock market, and for tech stocks. While regulatory concerns remain, the strength of Big Tech shone on Wednesday. Perhaps investors are betting that Democrats will go easy on tech. Or perhaps investors are simply celebrating an estimate-beating earnings report from Netflix. With other tech names reporting soon, we could be seeing the start of a pre-earnings rally. Either way, the move in FAANG names is one to watch today.

For more, read our InvestorPlace.com brief on the Nasdaq news here.

Midday Update: S&P 500, Nasdaq Set All-Time Highs

[Wednesday, January 20, 12:57 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  • The S&P 500 is up 1.3%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.74%
  • The Nasdaq Composite is up 1.85%
  • The Russell 2000 is down 0.01%

Oil Prices Climb on Inauguration Day

[Wednesday, January 20, 12:40 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Oil prices are staging a two-day streak, climbing on Inauguration Day. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices are up slightly to $53.37 a barrel. Brent crude prices are also up slightly, hovering above $56.30. Astute investors will likely recognize that those prices are near 11-month highs set earlier last week.

So what about the inaugural festivities has crude prices spiking? President Joe Biden is a backer of alternate energy solutions, and promises to invest $2 trillion in clean energy infrastructure. Despite the longer term implications for oil, it seems investors are still excited. That is because the newly sworn-in president has also unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan.

For oil, the story is pretty simple. A massive stimulus package could help the U.S. economy rebound. Other stimulus programs around the world could help the global economy rebound. Together, these rebounding economies will renew demand for oil. Looking to the future then, Inauguration Day is just another step to pre-pandemic oil prices.

5 Covid-19 Pharma Stocks to Watch

[Wednesday, January 20, 12:31 pm]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

After he took the oath of office, President Joe Biden acknowledged just where the United States stands. More than 400,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, and the path toward mass vaccination has not been smooth. However, Biden is coming into the White House with a plan.

With the support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert, Biden promises to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days. To do this he will retool Operation Warp Speed. The federal program will get a new name, new leadership and a new strategy. Biden is embracing a more centralized model, promising to use FEMA and the National Guard to build coronavirus vaccine clinics. He has also tweaked the vaccine schedule, encouraging states to vaccinate more people instead of holding doses in reserve for second-round shots.

Therefore, as Biden comes into office, pharma stocks in the Covid-19 space are ones to watch. For more, read the InvestorPlace.com roundup on coronavirus vaccine news.

3 Big Stories to Watch Today

[Wednesday, January 20, 9:35 am]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  1. Inauguration. What else is there to say? After a drawn-out presidential election and great chaos in the U.S. Capitol, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the president. As he takes office, he already has big plans for his first few days in the White House. He will rejoin the Paris climate deal, likely scrap permits for the Keystone XL pipeline and introduce new immigration policy. With just hours to go until a new administration, keep a close eye on the stock market and be sure to follow along with Inauguration Day festivities. You can follow events live on Twitter or through live blogs like this one from CNBC.
  2. What about China? Outgoing President Donald Trump has generated quite a few headlines in his final hours and days in office. One of them has huge consequences though, as the State Department formally declared that the Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in the Xinjiang region. According to many experts, this sets the stage for further sanctions, and for Biden to weigh in. As investors wait for more news on this front to develop, it is important to note what has already played out. Just last week, the U.S. banned imports of cotton and tomatoes from the region.
  3. Covid-19. After the celebrations, all eyes will be on Biden as he navigates the national response to Covid-19. He has already promised to ramp up the vaccine rollout, pledging to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days. The latest updates to his plans include the end of the Operation Warp Speed moniker and a vision to further centralize the Covid-19 response. As part of this he says he will use FEMA and the National Guard to build vaccine clinics across the U.S. For investors, this news comes as a variety of vaccine makers end up in the headlines. One story to watch today is news that the Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) vaccine is effective against the United Kingdom strain. Both stocks are down slightly after the opening bell.

Major Indices Launch Wednesday Higher

[Wednesday, January 20, 9:31 am]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  • The S&P 500 opened higher by 0.64%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened higher by 0.3%
  • The Nasdaq Composite opened higher by 1.53%
  • The Russell 2000 opened higher by 1.32%

Catch Up Quick: 5 Business Leaders to Watch

[Wednesday, January 20, 8:36 am]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

The man to watch today is no doubt Joe Biden. As of noon, he will officially be president of the United States, and his first few executive orders already promise to make waves. Although experts are already chiming in on how Biden will affect the stock market (things will largely stay the same for now), he may not be the only leader worth watching.

Yesterday, InvestorPlace pulled together a list of the top stock market movers and shakers to watch this week. Unsurprisingly, Biden topped that list. However, other names like Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Cathie Wood came up. That is because these business moguls and investing icons represent top themes in the market right now. What they do and say can help you make a lot of money… as long as you pay attention!

For more, read our roundup of top movers and shakers here.

Stock Market Futures Positive Ahead of Biden Inauguration

[Wednesday, January 20, 7:51 am]
Contributed by Sarah Smith

  • S&P 500 futures are up 0.38%
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are up 0.14%
  • Nasdaq Composite futures are up 0.82%
  • Russell 2000 futures are down 0.16%

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