Major Benchmarks Look to Close Out Volatile Week on High Note

Plenty of corporate news poured In, too

Assistant Editor
Feb 19, 2021 at 2:49 PM
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The holiday-shortened week brought plenty of exciting events. Following President's Day on Monday, the Dow finished Tuesday's volatile session up marginally higher, after touching record high earlier in the session. Wednesday was another volatile day, and the blue-chip index nabbed a record close, thanks to gains from Verizon (VZ) and Chevron (CVX), though the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended the day in the red as fears of inflation expectations emerged.

On Thursday, a round of disappointing jobs data poured cold water on markets, while all three indexes clocked sizable losses. Also on Thursday, House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House is planning to vote on the next relief bill before March 14. Heading into the weekend, renewed stimulus optimism has the major benchmarks heading higher. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for a bigger stimulus bill, and the Dow was on track for a nearly 150 point pop by midday.

Headlines Abuzz With C-Suite Shakeups, Corporate Happenings

Some noteworthy corporate news and at least one c-suite shakeup made headlines over the course of the week. For one, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK) added nearly 150 million shares of Verizon (VZ) to its holdings, giving the latter a sizable boost. Elsewhere, Slack Technologies (WORK) stock dipped as a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation got underway. Meanwhile, ABM Industries (ABM) added Quincy Allen to its board of directors, and Southwest Airlines (LUV) saw renewed leisure passenger demand and bookings for February. Lastly, Walmart (WMT) and Roku (ROKU) both dropped after earnings, but each reported vastly different results. 

Earnings Keep on Rolling In

The list of earnings reports is starting to dwindle, though last week still came with a number of interest names. Kicking things off, Uber Technologies (UBER) attracted option bulls in droves following its earnings report. Hilton Hotels (HLT) surprised analysts, reporting fourth-quarter losses and missing on revenue as well, thanks to headwinds from Covid-19. Shopify (SHOP) stepped up and reported a massive 94% jump in revenue, and said it expects a return to "normalized" growth in 2021. 

Last Week of February Full of Economic Data, Earnings

February is coming to a close, but there; still plenty of economic data and earnings reports for investors to digest. Concerning the latter, Best Buy (BBY), Etsy (ETSY), Home Depot (HD), and Lowe's (LOW) are just a few of the companies set to report. In the meantime, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White looks at the VIX's recent historical move below the 20 mark, and what it means for stocks. Also be sure to check out our Monday Morning Outlook, where Schaeffer's Senior V.P. of Research Todd Salamone digs into why small caps should be a big opportunity for risk-takers.

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