The U.S. stock market was indicated slightly higher Wednesday as investors digested a clutch of corporate results and prepared for the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. president.
How are stock benchmarks performing?
- Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, +0.17% YMH21, +0.17% rose 58 points to reach 30,886, a gain of 0.2%.
- S&P 500 index futures ES00, +0.41% ESH21, +0.41% climbed 16 points, or 0.4%, to 3,807.
- Nasdaq-100 futures YM00, +0.17% YMH21, +0.17% were up 120 points to reach 13,105.5, a gain of 0.9%.
On Tuesday, stocks posted modest gains to start the holiday-shortened week. The Dow DJIA, +0.38% closed 116.26 points, or 0.4%, higher to end at 30,930.52, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.81% gained 30.66 points, or 0.8%, closing at 3,798.91, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.53% advanced 198.68 points, or 1.5%, to finish at 13,197.18.
What’s driving the market?
Stocks are trading near record highs Wednesday as Biden is scheduled to be sworn in at a scaled-down ceremony that begins at noon Eastern Time in Washington, ending a tumultuous four years under the Trump administration.
The incoming president has laid out plans for a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which includes direct payments to Americans and funds set aside for testing and vaccine distribution, to help confront the economic shock from the deadly pandemic. He will likely face challenges getting his legislative agenda across the finish line with the Senate split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris set to provide the tiebreaker.
Biden also has a tall order of attempting to heal the country after riots on the Capitol two weeks ago rattled the nation. About 25,000 national troops are securing the inauguration event after Trump supporters stormed the seat of government, resulting in five deaths.
The incoming president’s outdoor address, according to reports, will emphasize the need for unity amid deep divisions in American politics.
Biden has already announced a number of executive orders to reverse some of Trump’s legislation, including rejoining the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord. He will also end bans on travel from 13 Muslim-majority and African nations.
Biden’s main focus, however, will be also combating the coronavirus pandemic, as the raging virus in the U.S. registered a grim milestone of 400,000 deaths Tuesday.
Read: Coronavirus tally: Global cases of COVID-19 top 96.2 million and U.S. has 401,777 fatalities
The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden will extend a pause on interest and principal payments for federal student loans until the end of September, keeping in place restrictions on evictions and foreclosures, and mandating the wearing of face masks on federal property and for interstate travel on airlines, trains and transit systems.
Outside of the inauguration, investors are parsing earnings reports from the likes of Netflix as well as those from Morgan Stanley, and Dow components UnitedHealth and P&G.
Read: Why investors continue to ignore ’emerging market’–style U.S. politics
Which stocks are in focus?
- Shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. UNH, +0.25% rose in premarket trading Wednesday, after the health care services company reported a fourth-quarter profit that fell less than expected, while revenue rose above forecasts.
- Procter & Gamble Co. PG, -0.88% sales surged in the most recent quarter, fueled in part by demand for high-end household products from pricey dish soap to a $ 300 electric toothbrush.
- Shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA, +3.36% shot up 7.3% toward a more than 6-week high in premarket trading Wednesday, putting them on track for a fifth-straight gain, after co-founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance in nearly three months
- Tyson Foods Inc. TSN, -1.31% said Wednesday it has agreed to settle all class claims in its previously disclosed broiler chicken antitrust litigation and will pay an aggregate of $ 221.5 million in settlements.
- Shares of renewable energy company Gevo Inc. GEVO, +72.34% slid in premarket trade Wednesday, after the company said it is selling $ 350 million of shares in a registered direct offering priced at-the-market
- Netflix Inc. NFLX, +0.76% reported 8.5 million net new subscribers late Tuesday in its fourth quarter, a dramatic uptick from the 2.2 million reported in the previous quarter and well ahead of company and analyst estimates.
- Tesla Inc. TSLA, +2.23% shares rose in premarket trade after a price-target increase, to $ 1,000 a share, by Oppenheimer analysts. That would represent roughly 17% upside.
- Fastenal Co. FAST, -0.12% said demand for equipment used to safeguard against the coronavirus gave it a boost in the fourth quarter.
- Morgan Stanley shares MS rose 2.2% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the bank blew past estimates for its fourth quarter. The bank said it had net income of $ 3.4 billion, or $ 1.81 a share, in the quarter, up from $ 2.2 billion, or $ 1.30 a share, in the year-earlier period.
What are other markets doing?
- The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.105% rose 1 basis point to 1.06%. Yields and bond prices move in opposite directions.
- The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, +0.09% a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was virtually unchanged at 90.53.
- Oil futures moved higher, with the U.S. benchmark CL00, +0.98% gaining 1.3% to $ 53.64 a barrel. Gold futures GC00, -0.30% rose 0.5%, to $ 1,849.90 an ounce.
- European equities were mixed. The Stoxx 600 Europe index SXXP was up 0.5%, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX was fractionally lower.
- In Asia, the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP rose 0.5%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, surged 1.1% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, closed 0.4% lower.