Benchmarks Log Strong Week Amid News Deluge

The FDA fully approved Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine this week

Digital Content Manager
Aug 27, 2021 at 3:14 PM
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Vaccine updates, the Federal Reserve's annual Jackson Hole symposium, and news out of Afghanistan made for an eventful week on Wall Street. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) kicked it off with a bang, scoring a new record high on Monday after the U.S. Federal Drug Administration fully approved the Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) vaccine. Stocks turned in more muted gains on Tuesday, after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said U.S.-traded Chinese companies may soon have to disclose political and regulatory risks to investors. Plus, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $3.5 trillion budget resolution and advanced a $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

The major indexes turned in wins on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) crossing the 4,500 level for the first time ever, and notching a fifth-straight daily win and record close alongside the Nasdaq. Boosting sentiment was the 10-year Treasury yield, which lifted both bank and reopening stocks. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) scored its fourth-consecutive gain. All three benchmarks snapped their win streaks on Thursday, though, as investors kept waiting for stimulus comments from the Fed's Jackson Hole symposium.

Investors were also concerned by news out of Afghanistan, where explosions in Kabul airport killed U.S. service members. Nonetheless, stocks bounced back on Friday, as investors digested Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's comments supporting the central bank's tapering of bond purchases in 2021. However, he noted that interest rake hikes would not immediately follow. At last check, all three indexes were eyeing weekly gains.

Tech Stocks in Focus

A number of tech players attracted investors' attention this week. Coinbase (COIN) was among them, after the online brokerage firm surged above the $50,000 level as Bitcoin (BTC) popped. Digital payments name PayPal (PYPL) was riding that same wave, after it expanded its crypto services to U.K. clients. Meanwhile, DiDi Global (DIDI) suspended its plans to launch in Britain and continental Europe due to regulatory pressuresand Palantir Technologies (PLTR) saw an options surge after its earnings report. Elsewhere, bulls blasted Palo Alto networks (PNW) on its blowout fiscal fourth-quarter results.

Another tech name attracting bull notes after an upbeat earnings report was Snowflake (SNOW). Zoom Video Communications (ZM) went even further, scoring a lofty upgrade  before next week's quarterly results. Dell (DELL) was not nearly as lucky, brushing off an earnings beat despite positive analyst attention. Conversely, Workday (WDAY) surged after sentiment spiked in light of its earnings beat.

 

More Earnings on Tap 

Tech stocks were not the only ones to set foot into the earnings confessional this week. Best Buy's (BBY) options pits exploded after the company raised its same-store sales guidance for the year. Analysts responded to Urban Outfitter's (URBN) earnings win, too, despite slowing in-store traffic. Meanwhile, call traders bought Nordstrom (JWN) on the dip, after the luxury retailer posted better-than-expected second-quarter results. Plus, Pure Storage (PSTG) was eyeing its fourth-straight win ahead of its report.

Apparel retailer Express (EXPR) was looking to snap its win streak before its earnings call, on the other hand, while Ulta Beauty (ULTA) surged to records after raising its full-year guidance. Options traders were betting big on Big Lots (BIG) ahead of its report, and blasted Peloton (PTON) after the exercise staple posted wider-than-expected losses.

End of Q3 to Kick Off with Manufacturing, Services Data

The month of August is coming to a close next week, meaning the tail end of the third quarter is upon us. There will be no shortage of economic data for investors to digest as they kick off September, though, with the Chicago purchasing managers' index (PMI), as well as manufacturing and services data on tap. Earnings reports will be trickling in, too, as major names including Campbell Soup (CPB), DocuSign (DOCU), Zoom Video (ZM), and more step into the confessional. Until then, keep track of these key trendlines following the Fed aftershock, and see how oil usually reacts after speculators bail.

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