S&P 500, Nasdaq Turn Higher Thanks to Fed Comments

A new bipartisan stimulus package has emerged, featuring direct payments to Americans

Digital Content Manager
Dec 16, 2020 at 4:34 PM
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Stocks were a mixed bag on Wednesday, in a volatile day on Wall Street. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both recovered from early morning losses stemming from dismal retail sales to finish higher, with the latter scoring an intraday record high in the process. The Dow wasn't as lucky, and despite briefly jumping into the black, ultimately finished lower. Broad market tailwinds came from two sources today. In Congress, lawmakers were hopeful a $900 billion stimulus package -- which includes a new round of direct payments to Americans but no liability shield, or state and local aid -- would be approved.

Secondly, at the conclusion of the Fed's December meeting, the central bank affirmed it will keep interest rates steady, and agreed to buy $120 billion worth of bonds each month. Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted the bank would increase asset purchases if economic recovery slows. In addition, the Fed offered several upbeat gross domestic product (GDP) projections.

 Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

  • Chipotle stock nabbed a new record high after a lofty bull note.
  • The retail stock for options bulls to unwrap during the holidays.
  • Plus, Moderna stock double downgraded; analysts calls TWTR a promising pick; and blowout earnings sends gun stock higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI -30,154.54) dropped 44.8 points, or 0.2% on the day. Microsoft (MSFT) led the Dow components with a 2.4% rise, while Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) paced the laggards, falling 2.2%.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 3,701.17) added 6.6 points, or 0.2% for the day. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 12,658.19) was up 63.1 points, or 0.5% for the day.

Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 22.50) lost 0.4 point, or 1.7% for the day.

 Closing Summary Dec 16

nyse nasdaq dec 16

  1. New York Gov. Cuomo said another economic shutdown in January is possible if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, with cases now closer to spring records. (CNBC)
  2. Facebook (FB) is attacking Apple (AAPL) after the iPhone maker said updates to the mobile device will allow users to opt out of targeted advertising. (MarketWatch)
  3. Moderna stock plummeted after a double downgrade, despite vaccine news.
  4. J.P. Morgan called Twitter stock a promising pick for 2021.
  5. Gun stock skyrockets following blowout quarterly earnings.

Earnings Dec 16

UVOL Dec 16

Lower Demand Projections Keep Tight Lid on Oil Prices

Oil prices finished higher once again today, as traders remained hopeful a COVID-19 stimulus agreement may be on the horizon, and new U.S. government data showed a decline in crude inventories. However, projections of lower demand kept a tight lid on gains, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) noting “demand for crude will rise slower than expected." Regardless, January-dated crude rose 20 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $47.82 per barrel.

Gold prices were higher for a consecutive time as well, also thanks to renewed stimulus hopes. They immediately started falling in electronic trading this afternoon, though, after the Federal Reserve announced it would maintain asset purchases at current levels. Still, February-dated gold rose $3.80, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,859.10 an ounce.

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