Day Traders Diary

1/21/21

The major averages are modestly higher in early morning trading on Thursday a day after the major averages hit record highs on Inauguration Day. The Dow Jones Industrial average is set to rise futures rose 54 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.3% and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.5%.

President Joe Biden released details of his Covid plan on his first full day in office, including 10 executive orders and his intent to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up protective equipment production. Biden will seek to accelerate the rollout of vaccines by providing more local and state funding, creating more vaccination sites and launching a national education campaign.

U.S. equities rose to record highs on Wednesday as the latest batch of strong corporate earnings rolled in and as Biden was sworn in, ushering in hope that an improved vaccine rollout will ensure a smoother and faster reopening.

The blue-chip Dow rose more than 250 points to close at a record. The S&P 500 climbed 1.4%, notching an all-time high. The Nasdaq Composite surged nearly 2%, closing at a record. The technology-heavy index was helped by a 16% jump in Netflix's stock on the back of the streaming giants' strong earnings and subscriber results.

Major U.S. airline United dipped more than 2% in premarket trading after missing on the top and bottom lines of its quarterly earnings released Wednesday night. The airline warned sales would continue to suffer in the early part of 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Investors assessed a better-than-expected reading on jobless claims. First-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 900,000 for the week ended Jan. 16, lower than an estimate of 925,000 according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones.

Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president on Wednesday, succeeding former President Donald Trump. During an inaugural address in which he called on Americans to reject efforts to sow division and pledged to work for the voters who did not support him, Biden declared, "Democracy has prevailed."

Along with the Covid response plan released Thursday, investors are also watching eagerly if Biden can get his proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through Congress.

Wednesday "might have less to do with the inauguration than it does with the start of a new earnings season and with investors taking advantage of recent performance to lighten up on winners in favor of adding some out of favor new era stocks which may be leading a good earnings quarter," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group.

Earnings season continues on Thursday with Baker Hughes, Union Pacific and Citrix reporting before the bell. Intel, IBM and CSX report after the closing bell on Thursday.

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