Benchmarks Race Toward Record Highs on Inauguration Day

Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

Deputy Editor
Jan 20, 2021 at 4:39 PM
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Stocks roared to brand-new highs midweek, with the Dow, Nasdaq Composite, and S&P 500 all notching their highest closes on record. The Dow ended the day with a 257-point pop, and all three major indexes also nabbed fresh intraday peaks. Attention was turned to Joe Biden's inauguration as the 46th president of the United States, which stoked investor optimism over additional emergency stimulus, and a speedy Covid-19 vaccine rollout.

Well-received earnings from several major names, including Netflix (NFLX) and Morgan Stanley (MS), also helped boost investor sentiment. Meanwhile, Wall Street's "fear gauge" -- the CBOE Volatility Index -- registered its biggest drop in nearly two weeks. 

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

  • The rallying fitness stock flexing red-hot options activity. 
  • Bulls flocked to BABA when its founder reappeared after three months.
  • Plus, a post-earnings look at NFLX; the analysts giving EAT an upgrade; and a technical breakdown of New Residential Investment stock. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 31,188.38) added 257.9 points, or 0.8% for the day. Microsoft (MSFT) led the gainers with a 3.7% pop, while JPMorgan Chase (JPM) fell to the bottom of the barrel with a 1.5% dip. 

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 3,851.85) settled 52.9 points, or 1.4% higher, and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 13,457.25) rose 260.1 points, or nearly 2% for the day.

Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 21.58) lost 1.7 point, or 7.1% for the day. 

Closing Indexes Summary Jan 20

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats Jan 20

  1. Three Democratic senators -- Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff, and Alex Padilla -- will be sworn into office today, giving democrats control of the Senate. (CNBC)
  2. A fatal gas explosion in a Madrid residential building left three dead and at least eight injured. The blast destroyed the face of the structure, while rubble covered a schoolyard. (MarketWatch) 
  3. Unpacking Netflix stock's big revenue beat and added subscribers. 
  4. Cheesecake Factory stock earned a fresh round of overdue bull notes.
  5. Taking a technical look at New Residential Investment stock. 

Earnings 0120

Unusual Options Activity Jan 20

Biden Inauguration, Stimulus Hopes Strengthen Gold, Oil

While Biden's inauguration is the reigning political story today, promises of additional stimulus are still top of mind, which in turn have led to a weakening of the U.S. dollar. This has been a positive thing for gold prices, which settled at a two-week high. February-dated gold added $26.30, or 1.4%, to finish at $1,866.50 per ounce.

Hopes that stimulus will strengthen demand for oil gave the commodity a boost today, too, with many traders optimistic that Biden's agenda will bring the end of the pandemic. February-dated crude rose 26 cents, or 0.5% for the day, to settle at $53.24 per barrel.

Trader: Sell These 8 Stocks in 2021

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