Close Update: Stocks Hit Record Highs as Biden Inauguration Lifts Investor Morale; Netflix Earnings Pull Tech Stocks Higher

Wednesday, January 20, 2021 5:11 PM | MT Newswires

US stocks ended Wednesday's session with record intraday highs as Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, driving investor optimism for a speedy economic revival plan, with Netflix (NFLX) also lifting tech stocks higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8% to 31,188.38, the S&P 500 added 1.5% to 3,851.85 and the Nasdaq Composite gained or 2% to 13,457.25. At current levels, all three indexes have surpassed record closing levels struck earlier this month. Among sectors, communication services led the gainers, with financials being the only decliner.

Biden was sworn in around midday after a pared-down inaugural ceremony in Washington, DC, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. Among his initial steps, Biden has outlined a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to boost the economy and plans for 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days of office.

Meanwhile, Netflix (NFLX) was up 17% after hitting a record high earlier following its strong Q4 performance that triggered a slew of price upgrades from analysts, including from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, UBS and Credit Suisse. But some kept their neutral or underperform ratings, including from Wedbush.

"While we are far more constructive about Netflix than we have been at any point in nearly a decade, we continue to question its valuation," said Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter in a note. "We have been consistently wrong about Netflix, but optimism about the company's potential to generate free cash flow growth of more than $1 billion per year seems to us to be misplaced."

On the energy front, oil prices were mixed, with US West Texas Intermediate up 0.5% to $53.24 per barrel and Brent crude 0.5% lower at $55.73. Natural gas price fell 0.5% to $2.53 per 1 million BTU.

Among the gainers, Caladrius Biosciences (CLBS) climbed 77% after treating the first patient in its phase 2b trial of CLBS16 for coronary microvascular dysfunction. Steel Connect (STCN) rose 79% after hiring a financial advisor to assist in its review of the non-binding offer from Steel Partners Holdings in November last year.

On the losing side, China Natural Resources (CHNR) lost 22% on selling $7.3 million securities to investors. Document Security Systems (DSS) fell 26% after pricing a stock offering at $3.60 per share, a discount to its closing price of $5.5 in the previous day. Gevo (GEVO) sank 21% on pricing of share offering at $8 each, against its closing price of $11.03 on Tuesday.

In the precious metals markets, gold rose 1.7% to $1,871.20 an ounce, and silver added 2.3% to $25.91 an ounce.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund rose 0.1% to $35.79 while the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.2% to $9.28. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 3.4% to $36.04 and SPDR Gold Shares added 1.6% to $175.39. The iShares Silver Trust rose 2.7% to $24.01.

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