All three major stock market indices closed at record highs last Thursday, and hit new intraday highs on Friday before closing out the trading day slightly lower. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained .4% to 30,179 – the NASDAQ Composite jumped 3.1% to 12,756 – and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.3% to 3,709.
Major factors behind the gains last week included a reiteration of accommodative monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, optimism surrounding the likelihood of more economic stimulus from Capitol Hill, and the rollout of a vaccine for COVID-19, with the first inoculations in the U.S. administered using the vaccine from Pfizer/BioNtech. These general themes have also been the forces behind the stock market’s continued climb of late.
Looking at some stocks in the news from last week: Tesla (TSLA), which hit an all-time high on Friday in volatile trading, is being added to the S&P 500 Index; Nike (NKE) jumped over 5% after posting better-than-expected revenues and earnings, while FedEx (FDX) stock fell nearly 6% despite delivering record quarterly sales along with an earnings beat. The company did not provide an earnings forecast citing uncertainty stemming from the pandemic.
Since the closing bell rang last Friday, news broke the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a second COVID-19 vaccine (from Moderna), and that Congress did in fact reach a deal on a $900 billion economic relief package, with a vote expected later today. Offsetting these positives however, is worry over a new COVID-19 strain, which sent the S&P 500 about 1% lower on the open today.
Looking ahead to the holiday schedule – the market closes at 1:00 pm on Thursday and is of course closed on Christmas Day. Markets are also closed next Friday in observance of New Year’s Day. We hope you enjoy the upcoming holiday season, and wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!
All the best – Southport Station Financial Management, LLC