Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: Big Energy, Clean Energy Keep Stocks Aloft

Oil settled near one-year highs Wednesday and clean energy received more attention too, helping to keep most of the major indices rolling.

Some of the major indices managed to extend their winning streaks Wednesday, albeit with more modest advances than in the prior two days.

The Senate yesterday set the stage for Democrats to pass a COVID rescue bill without Republican support, if necessary, voting 50-49 to move ahead with a budget resolution.

Government data detailing dwindling U.S. crude stockpiles sent oil futures up by 1.6% to $55.63 per barrel, to nearly one-year highs, pushing up the likes of Chevron (CVX, +2.2%) and Exxon Mobil (XOM, +3.9%).

The earnings calendar continued, too. Shares of Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, +7.3%) surged to a record close after reporting 23% growth in revenues as well as Street-beating earnings. Amazon.com's (AMZN) first $100 billion quarter was overshadowed by the announcement that CEO Jeff Bezos will step down from that post later this year; while AMZN opened in the black, it weakened throughout the day and finished off 2.0%. That was enough to send the Nasdaq Composite marginally lower to 13,610.

But the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1% to 30,723), S&P 500 (+0.1% to 3,830) and Russell 2000 (+0.3% to 2,157) each notched their third consecutive gain.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • Gold futures eked out a 0.1% improvement to $1,835.10 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices, at $35,842 on Tuesday, advanced 3.4% to $37,068. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
  • Sherwin-Williams (SHW) declined 1.3% after announcing it would execute a 3-for-1 stock split effective April 1. Based on its Tuesday closing price of $710.54, for instance, the stock would instead trade at $236.85.
stock chart for 020321

A Great Day for "Biden Plays"

A number of popular 2021 investing themes, including several industries expected to enjoy tailwinds from the Biden administration, hit the gas on Wednesday.

For instance, marijuana-related stocks widely rallied today. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ, +9.9%), a marijuana-themed ETF, popped yet again to bring its year-to-date returns to 62%.

"Senate Majority Leader Schumer has confirmed that cannabis reform legislation will be a key priority in the current Congress, and that it will include sensible tax and regulatory oversight at the federal level along with criminal justice reform," says Jason Wilson, cannabis and banking expert at ETF Managers Group, which issues MJ.

But it was more than just wide industry gains; the fund also benefited from some M&A action. Component GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), which produces the cannabinoid-based Epidiolex to treat severe childhood epilepsy, rallied 44.5% after it agreed to a $7 billion buyout from Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ, -3.9%).

Also, numerous green-energy stocks – such as hydrogen fuel cell developer Plug Power (PLUG, +4.9%) and solar play Daqo New Energy (DQ, +3.3%) – continued a multimonth rally that has enriched not just green-energy-specific funds, but even broader funds focused on a wealth of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors.

These factors might sound "squishy" to some, but investors are increasingly finding that companies focused on ESG initiatives deliver market-beating returns. That's good news for holders of these 15 ESG funds, which have grown their assets by leaps and bounds as Wall Street pays increasing attention to their robust performance:

Kyle Woodley was long AMZN and Bitcoin as of this writing.

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