Stocks Struggled This Week as Investors Focused on Political Upheaval

There were plenty of c-suite shakeups this week as well

Deputy Editor
Jan 15, 2021 at 2:05 PM
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Following record highs, the major indexes struggled to find footing this past week. Political turmoil remained in the spotlight, as well as increasing coronavirus cases and the potential for more substantial payments to most Americans in the form of stimulus checks. To start the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed the day with a nearly 90-point drop, as calls for U.S. President Donald Trump's impeachment weighed. Tuesday, stocks rose modestly, despite news of rising interest rates, and statements that market valuations may be too high. The major benchmark's were fairly muted by the next session, with another spike in COVID-19 cases likely dampening sentiment. After the close came the official news that the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for a second time. By Thursday morning, upbeat vaccine data and the hope of additional stimulus boosted the market, even as initial jobless claims surged to their highest level since August. This lifted the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) to fresh highs, though all three indexes pulled back before the close. By the end of the week, stocks plummeted despite the unveiling of President-Elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. To wrap up the week, all three major indexes are heading for losses.

Several Companies Show Political Side

Following last week's Capitol riot, several social media companies banned the president from their platforms. Analysts chimed in on Twitter (TWTR) this week, after the company removed over 70,000 accounts related to QAnon. Following in the footsteps of Twitter, and several others, Alphabet (GOOGL) removed new content uploaded to Trump's YouTube channel, noting it violated policies for inciting violence, while Amazon (AMZN) stumbled earlier in the week after the e-commerce giant stopped hosting Parler -- a social media operation popular with conservatives. However, it wasn't just social media and tech stocks that were impacted, as Deutsche Bank (DB) stock surged after the financial services institution said it would not conduct future business with President Trump or any of his companies. And Marriot stock (MAR) saw plenty of options volume after revealing its Political Action Committee will pause donations to U.S. lawmakers who voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Plenty of Wheeling and Dealing, C-Suite Shakeups

Several companies saw notable organizational changes this week, as well. Synchrony Financial (SYF) was boosted after announcing several leadership transitions, and received two price-target hikes to boot. Meanwhile, underperforming American Tower (AMT) agreed to buy Spanish telecom company Telefonica's (TEF) European and Latin American mobile phone masts for $9.4 billion. The same day, Urban Outfitters (URBN) plummeted after a lackluster holiday season and a c-suite shakeup disappointed investors, and blue-chip Visa (V) abandoned its merger with financial technology company Plaid. Later in the week, Penn National Gaming (PENN) announced it will partner with Choice Hotels (CHH). 


Holiday-Shortened Week Features Inauguration

The upcoming week will be a shorter one as we observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but a slew of notable earnings reports, including various blue-chip names, are due out. Starting off slow, midweek will bring the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, and the end of the week is filled with economic data. In the meantime, take a look at how much the Dow is worth in alternative assets


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