Today's Stock Market News & Events: 12/24/2020

Today's market-moving economic data and earnings schedule

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    Stocks were up yesterday, after U.S. President Donald Trump criticized the new stimulus package, and directed Congress to adjust the direct payments to Americans up to $2,000 from $600. The Pfizer (PFE) and BioNtech (BNTX) vaccine continues to rollout in the U.S., with more than 1 million doses already distributed. As for economic data on Wednesday, jobless claims came in better than expected, at 803,000 for the week. Core durable goods and personal income data failed to meet expectations. The President also vetoed a defense bill that outlines Pentagon policy, and authorizes $740 billion in spending near the close yesterday. 

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 30,129.83) added 114.3 points on Wednesday. The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 3,690.01) added 2.8 points and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC -12,771.11) dropped 36.8 points during yesterday's trading session. The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 23.31) dropped 0.9 point yesterday.

    Today, the market will close at 1 p.m. ET in observance of Christmas Eve. However, the latest round of jobless claims data is due, as well as durable and core capital goods orders.

    There are no companies slated to release earnings today, December 24.

    Here is a quick recap of how yesterday's earnings call played out:

    Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) provides integrated human capital management solutions for human resources (HR), payroll, benefits, and insurance services. Paychex reported its second-quarter earnings of 2021 before the bell on Wednesday, December 23. Earnings per share increased 4.29% over the past year to $0.73, which beat the estimate of $0.66. Paychex reported revenue of $983,700,000, a decrease of 0.71% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, beating analyst estimates of $954,000,000. PAYX stock price hit a record high of $99.95 yesterday following the earnings report release.

    The stock market hours will be 9:30 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. ET in observance of Christmas Eve today. On Friday, December 25, the stock market will be closed in observance of Christmas. 

    Looking ahead to next week, we will finally bid 2020 goodbye, and investors will immediately start looking ahead to 2021 as the market quiets down ahead of New Year's Day. The week after Christmas will be another short one as the market is closed next Friday, New Year's Day. The week ahead features only a few economic indicators, including pending home sales data, the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI), and this year's last round of jobless claims data. The earnings docket will be practically empty to finish the year, if not for Weibo (WB).

    Happy holidays, traders! See you on Monday for normal trading hours!

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