Stock Market Today

Stock Market Today: S&P 500 Sets New High as Biden Blesses Stimulus

The S&P 500, Dow and Russell 2000 all finished Thursday with new record closes after President Joe Biden signed his $1.9 trillion stimulus bill a day earlier than planned.

Stocks enjoyed a day of widespread gains in the wake of promising employment data and the finalization of a much-anticipated booster shot to the economy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that first unemployment filings for the week ended March 6 declined by 42,000 to 712,000 – the lowest total since early November. That also was below estimates for 725,000 applications for jobless benefits.

Stocks were further energized by President Joe Biden, who signed his $1.9 trillion plan into law on Thursday – a day ahead of schedule. That gets the ball rolling on a number of programs, most notably $1,400 stimulus checks to millions of Americans.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 0.6% higher to a record 32,485, and the S&P 500 gained 1.0% to 3,939 to surpass its February all-time highs. The small-cap Russell 2000 also enjoyed a record close, up 2.3% to 2,338. But out in front today was the Jekyll-and-Hyde Nasdaq Composite, up 2.5% to 13,398 thanks to the likes of Facebook (FB, +3.4%), Nvidia (NVDA, +4.2%) and Tesla (TSLA, +4.7%).

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Other action in the stock market today:

  • U.S. crude oil futures jumped 2.3% to settle at $65.92 per barrel.
  • Gold futures finished marginally higher at $1,722.60 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices continued their streak, gaining 2.1% to $57,506. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
stock chart for 031121

What's Next?

Naturally, given the forward-looking nature of the stock market, Wall Street's pros are casting a wary eye to the future even as they celebrate today's advances.

For instance, Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, says "The passage of the new COVID stimulus bill means that short-term risks to the economy are largely eliminated," but adds that "as economic risks recede, however, fears of overheating and inflation are rising. This will only push rates higher, which will create a headwind for markets."

"Markets have generally reacted positively to the additional fiscal spending measures," adds Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management, "but stimulus eventually wears off, and investors will have to be prepared to cross that bridge when it comes."

That doesn't mean the party's totally over; largely speaking, analysts continue to suggest value stocks and reflation-trade plays as opposed to growthier strategies.

But one area of growth that continues to see voracious investing appetite is initial public offerings (IPOs), which allow people to grab a bite of previously private companies.

Korean e-commerce play Coupang (CPNG) went public today and jumped 40.7% from its $35 IPO pricing; Roblox (RBLX, +6.3%), a gaming and game-creation platform popular with kids, added to its 54.4% first-day gains from its Wednesday direct listing (an alternative to IPOs that also brings private companies public).

So, what's coming public next? We've crossed Coupang, Roblox and a few other offerings off our running list of upcoming IPOs and replaced them with additional familiar tech and consumer brands expected to hit the markets over the next few months. Check them out!

Kyle Woodley was long NVDA and RBLX as of this writing.

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