Day Traders Diary
The major averages rose to all-time highs on Thursday as Congress confirmed the election of Joe Biden as president and traders looked past the unrest in Washington. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 21 points, or 0.69%. At one point, the Dow was up more than 300 points. The Nasdaq Composite popped 2.56%. rising above 13,000 for the first time thanks to Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet. The S&P 500 advanced 1.48% to trade above 3,800 for the first time.
Sentiment on Wall Street got a boost after the Institute for Supply Management said its index for nonmanufacturing activity in the U.S. rose to 57.2 in December from 55.9 in November. Economists polled by Dow Jones had forecast a print of 54.5.
Walgreens Boots Alliance rose 5.8% to lead the Dow higher on the back of stronger-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of JPMorgan Chase rose 3.2% after the banking giant was upgraded to buy from neutral by an analyst at Bank of America. The tech and consumer discretionary sectors rose 2.5% and 2.2%, respectively, to lift the S&P 500.
American Express fell 1% after The Wall Street Journal reported that federal investigators were probing the company's card sales practices, slightly weighing on the Dow.
On Wednesday, pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol just as lawmakers started the procedural process of counting the Electoral College votes and formally declaring Biden the winner. Still, the Dow and the S&P 500 closed higher on Wednesday as traders looked beyond the event amid increasing prospects for more fiscal stimulus.
Congress reconvened to continue the process to confirm Biden's win late Wednesday evening after the Capitol building was secured. That affirmation came early Thursday morning with the House of Representatives and the Senate rejecting efforts to object to the acceptance of the Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
President Donald Trump said in a statement after the Congress confirmation of Biden that "there will be an orderly transition on January 20th."
Traders continued to focus on the possibility for additional fiscal aid has after the Democratic party secured a slim majority in the Senate, giving it control of both congressional chambers.
NBC News projected on Wednesday afternoon that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue in one of the two runoff elections in Georgia. Earlier in the day, NBC projected Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler in their Georgia runoff.
Georgia's election results create a 50-50 Senate that Democrats will control, due to the tiebreaking vote in Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. It is widely expected that a Democrat-held Senate would push for a more robust stimulus package, speculation which boosted equities on Wednesday, especially stocks hit hardest during the Covid recession.
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