Stock Market Today: Blue-Chip Indices Close Out the Week on Top
The Dow and other major indices managed to scratch out new all-time highs with modest gains in a quiet Friday session.
The stock market was less escalator, more airport people-mover for much of the week, but the major indices managed to end the week on a (modestly) positive note, and at fresh highs.
President Joe Biden said Thursday that "we're now on track to have enough [vaccine] supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July," and The Associated Press reports that his administration is "on pace to exceed Biden's goal of administering 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office."
However, on Friday, the preliminary February estimate for the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index slipped to 76.2, from 79.0 in January.
"The loss was entirely driven by a drop in the expectations index as households turned less optimistic about their income prospects," says Pooja Sriram, Vice President, U.S. Economist, at Barclays. "The press release notes that the lower optimism was seen mainly among households with incomes below $75,000 and more so for those in the bottom one-third of the income scale."
The S&P 500 (+0.5% to 3,934) and Nasdaq Composite (+0.5% to 14,095) managed yet again to eke out new record closes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average did, too, though its 0.1% uptick to 31,458 was hampered by a 1.7% decline in Disney (DIS), which beat earnings expectations but had analysts questioning its valuation.
Also, take note: Monday is Presidents' Day, which is a stock market holiday.
Other action in the stock market today:
- The small-cap Russell 2000 scratched out a 0.2% gain to 2,289.
- U.S. crude oil futures recovered from yesterday's losses, gaining 2.1% to hit $59.47 per barrel.
- Gold futures slid again, off 0.2% to $1,823.30 per ounce.
- Bitcoin prices, at $48,379 on Thursday, slipped 1.5% to $47,662 on Friday. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
Don't Fear a Dip; Get Ready to Buy It
While many observers have warned of a potential market downturn, Ally Invest chief investment strategist Lindsey Bell reminds investors that selloffs aren't always something to fear.
"If there is a pullback, have your wish list ready," she suggests, noting that consumer staples stocks are perhaps being overlooked despite their strong earnings performance.
She also reminds investors to have cash ready.
"When the drop happens, you’ll need some cash," Bell says. "Even though low-yielding cash gets a bad rap, it is an important part of any portfolio because without it you could miss the chance to take action when opportunity arises."
You can learn more about raising cash here, but typically this means selling off various stocks. In some cases, that means trimming losers, but in other cases it means taking profits on stocks that have run fast and far, but might be running out of gas.
This list of 10 widely held S&P 500 stocks is an interesting blend of both ideas here. They currently trade at nosebleed prices, making them a prime starting point for locking in profits. But they're also attractive long-term plays that might make for better buys amid a broader-market downturn.
Read on as we examine each of these extravagantly priced plays, and why they're possibly flying a little too close to the sun (for now).