Vaccine News, Jobless Claims Shake Wall Street

Several stocks stepped into the earnings confessional

Digital Content Manager
Jul 17, 2020 at 12:48 PM
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Promising vaccine news, a dismal jobless claims report and a sluggish tech sector highlighted the third week of July. The week kicked off with a notable day for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, with the former breaking above its year-to-date breakeven level, and the latter hitting a record high. By Tuesday, the Dow was also higher, as Florida's one-day coronavirus increase fell below the seven-day average and encouraged investors. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also finished with sizable winnings, despite a sluggish day for Big Tech.

Later in the week, Moderna’s (MRNA) vaccine news gave travel stocks American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) a boost, but the tech sector was mixed after a midday slump. Meanwhile, the Fed's report that economic activity has increased created optimism, though levels are still far off where they were before the pandemic. That upbeat sentiment did not last, however. Disappointing weekly jobless claims data did pared any gains, despite a better-than-expected 7.5% pop in retail sales for June.

Blue-Chip Movers and Shakers

Blue-chip stocks were in the limelight this week. On Tuesday, 3M (MMM) was mostly flat, even after the company announced a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a rapid antigen test for COVID-19. That same day, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) also fell flat, after it reported a second-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' estimates, but was dampened by a more than 50% loss in profits. UnitedHealth Group (UNH) followed suit later on Wednesday, reporting second-quarter results that were well above expectations, but tainted by a revenue miss. Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley (MS) was higher on Thursdayreporting second-quarter profits that blew past Wall Street's estimates. And finally on Friday, Microsoft (MSFT) was up after it reportedly cut 1,000 jobs to enter a new fiscal year.

Upside Could Be In Store for Tech

It was a busy week for the technology sector. On Monday, Digital Turbine (APPS) flashed a bull signal that indicated it could be headed toward new heighs in coming weeks. A day later, Okta (OKTA) was higher, also flashing a signal that hinted at more upside on the horizon. STMicroelectronics NV (STM) rose on Tuesday, though a specific catalyst was unclear at that point. And halfway through the week, Cloudflare (NET) was lower, pulling back to a bullish trendline that could help the security float to fresh highs in the near future. Meanwhile, Twitter (TWTR) was lower on Thursday, after a security hack targeted some of its highest-profile users, including former President Barack Obama, Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, and others.

Earnings Season Revs Up Next Week

While next week will be relatively quiet in terms of economic data, earnings season will be revving up, with airlines, big blue-chips, social media and tech names scheduled to step into the earnings confessional. Data on existing home sales and weekly crude inventories will be released mid-week, while the Markit manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI), Markit services PMI, and new home sales are lined up for Friday. Until then, you can take a look at these notable technical indicators that signaled over the past week, and find out what pivots to look out for in market behavior in the near future.

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