Stock Market Today: American Jobs Plan Imminent, But Tech Wins the Day

Joe Biden is just about to roll out his $2 trillion-plus American Jobs Plan, but investors' interest was heaviest in the technology sector Wednesday.

Construction workers building a road
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The major indices finished higher Wednesday ahead of the unveiling of President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan, dubbed "The American Jobs Plan."

Earlier in the day, ADP reported that the U.S. added 517,000 private payrolls in March – up big from 176,000 in February, but below consensus expectations for 550,000.

Later on, the White House's outline (opens in new tab) of the $2 trillion-plus infrastructure proposal revealed potential new spending on transit, our water systems, the electric grid, education and healthcare. But while the major indices did head higher, many investors weren't buying the infrastructure news today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was actually the worst of the major indices, off 0.3% to 32,981.

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Anu Gaggar, senior global investment analyst for Commonwealth Financial Network, explains that "the infrastructure spending will come over a period of years versus weeks for the stimulus bill, which had a massive immediate impact."

"Passing the bill as is in Congress is quite an uphill task and might either need to be broken down into smaller chunks or go through the budget reconciliation process in the next fiscal year," he adds.

Also worth noting in The American Jobs Plan were several potential tax changes to help finance the plan, chief among them a hike in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

"The larger impact to markets will be whether or not the corporate tax rate is raised to 28% - or somewhere in between there and the current 21% level – and whether or not a global minimum tax on corporations can be established," says Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. "It’s likely that the stock market can withstand a hike in the corporate tax rate to 25%, but unclear how much room there is above that if stocks are going to keep moving higher between now and year end."

Instead, investors snapped up recently battered technology shares, with tech-sector ETF Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK (opens in new tab), +1.5%) outperforming its 10 sector peers. Gains from tech and tech-adjacent stocks such as Tesla (TSLA (opens in new tab), +5.1%), Nvidia (NVDA (opens in new tab), +3.7%) and Facebook (FB (opens in new tab), +2.3%) helped the Nasdaq Composite jump 1.5% to 13.246. The S&P 500 climbed 0.4% to 3,972, just a couple points shy of its all-time high.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 also snapped higher, finishing up 1.9% to 2,232.
  • U.S. crude oil futures suffered another drop, down 2.3% to $59.16 per barrel.
  • Gold futures rebounded 1.8% to $1,713.80 per ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices slipped 0.4% to $58,803. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 033121

(Image credit: YCharts)

Ways to Play the Infrastructure Payday

It's all going according to, ahem, "plan."

Biden's first few months in the White House have been largely what Wall Street was anticipating – a massive new round of stimulus made its way out of Washington, and the 46th president has quickly pivoted to a well-telegraphed infrastructure initiative. (Both themes factored heavily into our top 20 stocks for the Joe Biden presidency.)

So, who stands to gain?

Green energy, for one. Various aspects of The American Jobs Plan are focused on energy-efficiency improvements and building green infrastructure, which should benefit stocks such as these seven plays.

Electric vehicle stocks (such as the aforementioned Tesla) should get a jolt, too, as the plan includes an extension of EV incentives, as well as a pledge to ensure the U.S. has half a million EV chargers by 2030.

But more broadly speaking, a wide array of companies from numerous sectors stand to profit from the heavy spending of this infrastructure plan. Read on as we look at 12 of the most likely beneficiaries.

Kyle Woodley was long NVDA as of this writing.

Kyle Woodley
Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

Kyle is senior investing editor for Kiplinger.com. As a writer and columnist, he also specializes in exchange-traded funds. He joined Kiplinger in September 2017 after spending six years at InvestorPlace.com, where he managed the editorial staff. His work has appeared in several outlets, including U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money, he has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, and he has been quoted in MarketWatch, Vice and Univision, among other outlets. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism.