Benchmarks Wrap Up Rollercoaster Week With Fresh Records

Better-than-expected jobless claims also helped investor sentiment

Digital Content Manager
Dec 4, 2020 at 1:53 PM
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Renewed stimulus negotiations, grim COVID-19 records and employment data defined a rollercoaster week on Wall Street. While all three major benchmarks finished November strong on Monday -- with the Dow nabbing its best month since 1987 -- stocks fell after investors looked to cash in. They were up again on Tuesday, however, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq notching record closes, after lawmakers proposed a $908 billion stimulus package. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected the plan, while more than 13 million confirmed COVID-19 cases weighed heavy on the minds of investors.

Stocks were muted mid-week, due to disappointing jobs data and the relief stalemate, though the S&P 500 secured its second-straight record close. By Thursday, better-than-expected jobless claims and perceived progress in stimulus talks boosted investor sentiment, but stocks reversed gains after Pfizer (PFE) reported supply chain issues with its coronavirus vaccine, and the U.S. logged 100,000 hospitalized patients and its highest single-day death toll to date. The major indexes were higher once again to finish the week, with all three scoring fresh intraday record highs, despite a dismal November jobs report.

A Record-Breaking Week for Semiconductor Stocks

It was an upbeat week for the semiconductor industry. Micron Technology (MU) surged to record levels on Tuesday after earning a price-target hike from Cowen and Company to $75 from $57, and one from Needham to $80 from $65, which were attributed to the company's potential for profitable growth and raised fiscal first-quarter guidance. That same day, QUALCOMM (QCOM) was higher after revealing a new smartphone chip, which will be launched as soon as 2021. Rounding things out, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSM) also hit a record high, with options volume pacing for the 99th percentile of its annual rage.

Tech Sector Weighs Slew of Bull, Bear Notes

The broader tech sector was also in focus over the past five days. On Monday, Zoom (ZM) fell after attracting both bear and bull notes -- despite beating Wall Streets' third-quarter estimates -- due to concerns over 2021 gross margins and maintenance costs. The next day, blue-chip Salesforce.com (CRM) plunged after acquiring Slack (WORK) for $27.7 billion, resulting in no less than three price-target cuts, including one from Barclays to $276 from $315.

Meanwhile, NetApp (NTAP) was higher on Tuesday, after a fiscal second-quarter beat and strong third-quarter outlook. In response, NTAP earned no fewer than nine price-targets hikes. Lastly, CrowdStrike (CRWD) also reported a third-quarter earnings beat, which attracted a slew of bull notes and pushed the security up to a fresh record high. 

Peak Holiday Season Brings On Federal Budget Update

The upcoming week shows no signs of slowing down, with names such as JinkoSolar (JKS), Stitch Fix (SFIX), Chewy (CHWY), Adobe (ADBE) and Lululemon (LULU) all set to report earnings. As for economic data, consumer credit, jobs opening, and wholesale inventories data will be top of mind, as well as a federal budget update and a new round of jobless claims. Until then, dive into how the equity benchmarks cleared historical resistance, and prepare for how the Dow could behave after crossing key intervals.

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