Stocks hit record highs as Biden officially becomes 46th president of the United States
Stocks opened higher and finished at record levels amid stimulus hopes after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. In addition to bets on more forthcoming government assistance, expectations for more solid earnings gave stocks a boost following a number of high-profile beats last night and this morning. Potential investor concerns over a disorderly transfer of power were eased as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as president and vice president without any noteworthy disturbances at the nation's capitol or any state capitols.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the NAHB housing market index fell 3 points to 83 in January
TOP NEWS: Shares of Netflix (NFLX) rose almost 17% after the company reported fourth quarter results and said it had surpassed 200M subscribers for the first time. The better than expected subscriber growth last quarter, as well as management commentary that the company no longer needs outside capital to fund its business, prompted upgrades of Netflix to Overweight at Wells Fargo and to Buy at UBS along with a wealth of price target hikes from other Wall Street firms.
In other earnings news, Procter & Gamble (PG) reported fiscal Q2 core EPS and revenue that topped consensus and raised its FY21 core EPS view, UnitedHealth (UNH) beat expectations on the top and bottom lines and backed its FY21 outlook and Morgan Stanley's (MS) headline earnings and revenue topped consensus forecasts.
In COVID-19 news, Amazon (AMZN) said in a letter addressed to President Joe Biden that it is ready to turn its facilities into COVID-19 vaccination sites and is offering other resources to the U.S. government, according to media reports. In the letter, Amazon executive Dave Clark said the Seattle tech giant wants to help the Biden administration reach its goal of vaccinating 100M Americans in the next 100 days.
Meanwhile, Tesla (TSLA) shares were fractionally higher despite Kynikos Associates founder Jim Chanos stating during an interview on CNBC that the firm has transformed its short position in Tesla shares into a put position, but is continuing to bet against the electric carmaker amid the stock's rise.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Collectors Universe (CLCT), which jumped 17.8% after it amended its merger agreement with an investor group to $92 per share. Also higher was Aptorum Group (APM), which gained 26.4% after receiving clearance from the Public Health Agency of Canada regarding the clinical trial application to commence a Phase 1 study of ALS-4, an orally administered small molecule drug intended to treat infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus including MRSA.
Among the notable losers was Ceragon Networks (CRNT), which declined 15.6% after Needham analyst Alex Henderson double-downgraded the stock to Underperform from Buy. Also lower was U.S. Bancorp (USB), which fell over 5% after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 257.86, or 0.83%, to 31,188.38, the Nasdaq gained 260.07, or 1.97%, to 13,457.25, and the S&P 500 advanced 52.94, or 1.39%, to 3,851.85.
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