Stock Market Today: Wall Street Welcomes Biden With Resounding Rally
The major indices finished at record highs Wednesday as investors digested the new president's inauguration message and hopes for his stimulus plan.
Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday in a smaller, sparser inauguration ceremony than in years past, but one that was no less cheered by investors, who drove the blue-chip indices to fresh highs.
Biden's message was a welcome one, touting unity as a solution to the hurdles facing America:
"This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward," he said. "We have never, ever, ever, ever failed in America when we've acted together."
Wall Street, of course, is more focused on policy than speeches, and is now keying in on the perceived benefits of the new president's stimulus proposal. (Treasury Secretary Nominee Janet Yellen endorsed Biden's plan yesterday.)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 0.8% to 31,188, finished with a record close. Strong performances from the "FAANGs" – Facebook (FB, +2.4%), Amazon.com (AMZN, +4.6%), Apple (AAPL, +3.3%), Netflix (NFLX, +16.9%) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, +5.4%) – launched the S&P 500 (+1.4% to 3,851) and Nasdaq (+2.0% to 13,457) to new heights.
Netflix's outsized jump was fueled by a strong fourth-quarter report that saw the streaming video provider pass 200 million global subscribers.
"We feel the company's robust original content pipeline and improving cash flow leave it well-positioned to remain consumers' top choice in streaming entertainment for years to come," say Canaccord Genuity analysts Maria Ripps and Michael Graham, who rate the stock Buy and raised their 12-month price target from $630 per share to $670.
The small-cap Russell 2000 joined in, climbing 0.4% to a record 2,160.
Other action in the stock market today:
- Gold futures surged 1.4% higher to hit $1,866.50 per ounce.
- U.S. crude oil futures settled 0.5% higher, at $53.24 per barrel.
- Bitcoin prices, at $36,433 on Tuesday, declined by 3.9% to $35,007. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
How Long Will the Market Honeymoon Last?
Investors are sure to continue betting on industries and sectors most likely to get a lift from the nation's change in management. Green energy stocks have been all the rage, for instance, and could continue to receive a bid.
Don't count out traditional energy plays, however. Erin Swenlin, senior analyst at Stockcharts.com, points out that "with the possible crackdown on fracking and fossil fuels by the new administration, scarcity will afford the oil and natural gas industries more gains."
But like some of her peers, Swenlin is warning about potential short-term overheating.
"We're seeing a market that is more than overbought. ... it is running well past earnings potential," she says, warning of a looming correction – one that could occur "when investors realize that the vaccine hasn't solved our economic problems."
That could be a blessing in disguise, at least for new money.
Many "Biden picks" have already appreciated considerably since we first highlighted them ahead of the November election, and a correction could produce more palatable pricetags for a number of stocks that should have Washington on their side for at least a couple years to come. If you want to build such a watch list, look no further than this list of 20 top stocks for the Biden administration.