Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: Stocks Limp Into the Weekend

COVID worries, including a not-glowing reception to Johnson & Johnson vaccine, helped drag the major indices lower Friday

The market swung back to sizable losses Friday as dazed investors digested ongoing COVID concerns, as well as the continuing saga in GameStop (GME, +67.9%) and its potential side effects on the market.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, -3.6%) said its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine is 66% effective against the virus, according to early Phase 3 trial data, but that it is less effective in test locations that are dealing with variant strains.

Meanwhile, traders inspired by the social app Reddit continued to pressure highly shorted stocks, which could be rattling the broader indices. LPL Financial chief market strategist Ryan Detrick says, "We do not believe they represent a sign of a broader market bubble or indicate a major correction is forthcoming ... [but] institutions covering shorts at sizable losses may be removing capital from some big-cap names."

Chevron (CVX, -4.3%) and Dow (DOW, -4.6%) were among some of Friday's biggest losers for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which declined a full 2.0% to 29,982, putting it a similar percentage in the red for the year-to-date.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 dropped by 1.9% to 3,714.
  • The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5% to 13,337.
  • The Russell 2000 declined 1.6% to 2,073.
  • Gold futures snapped a seven-session losing streak, gaining 0.5% to $1,850.30 per ounce.
  • U.S. crude oil futures declined by 0.3% to settle at $52.20 per barrel.
  • Bitcoin prices, at $32,608 on Thursday, enjoyed a 3.1% bounce-back to $34,538. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
stock chart for 012921

What a Delayed Recovery Could Mean for Investors

It's no secret: COVID remains the largest known risk to the market's progress.

"Recovery will depend on the willingness of people to get on an airplane, stay in a hotel, and go out to dinner," writes Raymond James chief economist Scott Brown. "A quicker rollout of vaccines will get us there sooner, but there is also a risk that vaccines will be less effective against new strains of the virus. Booster shots may be needed."

The Federal Open Market Committee sounded a similar tone in its Jan. 27 policy statement, writing that "the path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus, including progress on vaccinations."

That means certain anticipated trends for 2021 – the rotation into value stocks comes to mind – could be delayed. Optimists would take that as an extended opportunity to get into a number of rebound plays, including energy, financials and real estate.

You're also seeing a pause in a number of consumer discretionary plays that were popular as we entered the new year. Many of them will benefit from the eventual return to pre-pandemic habits – making them potentially attractive buys now, especially if the current dip deepens. Check out our list of the top 13 consumer discretionary stocks for the year ahead.

Kyle Woodley was long Bitcoin as of this writing.

Most Popular

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer
Coronavirus and Your Money

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer

The IRS has an online tool that lets you track the status of your stimulus checks.
February 19, 2021
The Current Plan for $1,400 Checks
Coronavirus and Your Money

The Current Plan for $1,400 Checks

Here's what you need to know about the stimulus check plan currently being considered in Congress for President Biden's COVID-relief package.
February 18, 2021
Want More Tax-Free Retirement Income? One Man’s Whole Life Decision
life insurance

Want More Tax-Free Retirement Income? One Man’s Whole Life Decision

Whole life insurance might not be something that’s on your retirement planning radar, but for this client, here’s how it served his need to control ta…
February 23, 2021

Recommended

Closing Bell 6/22/20: Big Tech Carries the Markets
stocks

Closing Bell 6/22/20: Big Tech Carries the Markets

Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT) were at the forefront of a tech-led rally in the broader markets Monday.
June 22, 2020
Stock Market Today: Fed-Led Momentum Propels Dow Again
stocks

Stock Market Today: Fed-Led Momentum Propels Dow Again

Fed's bond backing, Powell's suggestion for more Congressional spending and hints at an infrastructure plan lifted stocks broadly Tuesday
June 16, 2020
All 30 Dow Jones Stocks Ranked: The Pros Weigh In
blue chip stocks

All 30 Dow Jones Stocks Ranked: The Pros Weigh In

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is made up of 30 blue chips that are tops in their industries. But some Dow Jones stocks are better opportunities tha…
February 24, 2021
Stock Market Today 2/23/21: Selloff? What Selloff? Morning Plunge Quickly Evaporates
Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today 2/23/21: Selloff? What Selloff? Morning Plunge Quickly Evaporates

The Nasdaq spewed red ink to kick off Tuesday morning but recovered most of its ground, with Fed comments helping to soothe investor concerns.
February 23, 2021