Stocks Log Solid Gains Despite Worrisome COVID-19 Headlines

The Senate still has no plans to vote on a bill passed in Congress

Digital Content Manager
Dec 30, 2020 at 4:26 PM
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The major indexes bounced back on Wednesday, but new record highs remained elusive. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq finished higher, but closed well off their session highs, after a highly contagious strain of COVID-19 was identified in the U.S. Headwinds also came from a lack of urgency in the Senate to vote on a bill that could increase stimulus payments to $2,000 from $600. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a different bill that attaches the higher stimulus checks to tech and election demands, making it unlikely to be approved by Democrats.  

Boosting sentiment, on the other hand, were the U.K's approval of AstraZeneca's (AZN) COVID-19 vaccine with the University of Oxford, and stimulus checks starting to hit bank accounts. Meanwhile, the U.S. is currently averaging more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths and 180,000 cases each day, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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

  • Intel stock took a hit amid a greater Third Point stake.
  • Is this bank stock still a solid buy for the year ahead?
  • Plus, LEVI eyes rebound; a Micron earnings preview; and one analyst's "top idea for 2021."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 30,409.56) added 73.9 points, or 0.2% for the day. Walt Disney (DIS) led the Dow winners with a 2.5% rise, while Intel (INTC) paced the laggards with a 1.4% drop.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 3,732.04) rose 5 points, or 0.1% for the day. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 12,870.00) jumped 19.8 points, or 0.2% for the day.

Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 22.77) lost 0.3 point, or 1.3% for the day.

 Closing Summary Dec 30

nyse nasdaq Dec 30

  1. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a new COVID-19 strain in the U.S. could add even more pressure to heavily burdened hospitals. (CNBC)
  2. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) will continue trials of its COVID-19 antibody cocktail, after the latest data showed sufficient efficacy in patients. (MarketWatch) 
  3. A fresh bull note from Guggenheim has Levi stock eyeing a rebound.
  4. This chip stock is looking to extend its post-earnings winning streak
  5. Caterpillar stock surged after Baird called it a "top idea for 2021."

There were no notable earnings reports today.

 UVOL Dec 30

Gold Rises as U.S. Dollar Drops to Multi-Year Lows

Oil prices finished today's choppy session sideways, reversing earlier gains even after data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a 6.1-million barrel drop in U.S. crude inventories. As a result, February-dated crude added 34 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $48.34 per barrel.

Gold prices finished slightly higher, however, after the U.S. dollar fell to over two-year lows, making the safe-haven commodity more appealing. Still, rising debt yields kept a tight lid on further gains. In turn, February-dated gold added $10.50, or 0.6% for the day, to settle at $1,893.40 an ounce.

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