Dow Sneaks in Slight Gain as Stimulus Takes Spotlight

Americans could get new $600 stimulus checks as soon as next week

Digital Content Manager
Dec 21, 2020 at 4:32 PM
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The holiday-shortened week is off to a volatile start, as investors reconcile a new, fast-spreading strain of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom with the long-awaited agreement for a $900 billion stimulus package. The Dow managed to reverse earlier losses to finish marginally higher, while frantic rallies from the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell short. On the brighter side, Eli Lilly (LLY) said its antibody treatment “should maintain full activity against the new strain" of the virus, which has renewed lockdowns in parts of England.

Meanwhile, Moderna (MRNA) has begun shipping vaccine doses across the country, as lawmakers vote on a relief bill that could send $600 direct payments to Americans as soon as next week. Despite the three major benchmarks closing well off their session lows, Wall Street's "fear gauge," the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), snapped a four-day losing streak and notched its highest close since Nov. 12.

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

  • Golf stock still in good shape despite hefty downgrade
  • Analyst says Walmart stock can weather the storm.
  • Plus, Nike stock scores fresh record; options bulls blast aerospace stock; and can Clorox stock outlast the pandemic?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 30,216.45) added 37.4 points, or 0.1% for the day. Goldman Sachs (GS) led the Dow components with a 6.1% rise, while Intel (INTC) paced the laggards, falling 2.3%.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 3,694.92) fell 14.5 points, or 0.4% for the day. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC -12,742.52) was down 13.1 points, or 0.1%, for the day.

Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 25.16) added 3.6 points, or 16.6% for the day.

 Closing summary Dec 21

nyse nasdaq dec 21

  1. Attorney General William Barr contradicted President Donald Trump, saying a hack of U.S. government agencies “certainly appears to be” the work of Russia. (CNBC)
  2. President Donald Trump is once again seeking to overturn Pennsylvania election results, despite previous dismissals and admonitions from judges. (MarketWatch)
  3. Nike stock nabbed a fresh record high after beating Wall Street's estimates.
  4. Options bulls blasted Lockheed Martin stock after a multi-billion dollar acquisition. 
  5. Can Clorox stock survive the end of the coronavirus pandemic?

Earnings Dec 21

UVOL Dec 21

Oil Prices Plummet on Renewed COVID-19 Fears

Oil prices plummeted today, as traders grew concerned about the fast-growing COVID-19 variant in England. The news also cast a shadow over the approval of a new stimulus in the U.S., with London as well as parts of southern England now shutting nonessential business and banning travel. In turn, February-dated crude shaved $1.27, or 2.6%, to settle at $47.97 per barrel.

Meanwhile, gold prices finished the day marginally lower, after the U.S. dollar regained some strength as investors seemed to perceive it as a safe investment in light of the new coronavirus strain, leading some to temporarily sell their bullion holdings. As a result, February-dated gold fell $6.10, or 0.3% for the day, to settle at $1,882.30 an ounce.

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