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Midday Report: US Stocks Rise as Details Set to Emerge on Biden's Economic Relief Program; Jobless Claims Hit Five-Month High

01/14/2021 | 12:33pm
(MT Newswires) -- US stocks rose on Thursday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's stimulus package announcement while weekly jobless claims surged to a five-month high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed by 115.77 points, or 0.4%, to 31,169.51, with S&P 500 higher by 0.1% to 3,814.72 and Nasdaq up by 0.3% to 13,172.42. Energy and financials were among the biggest gainers while the utilities sector was the steepest decliner after midday on Thursday.

The US 10-year yield rose by 1 basis points to 1.10%, trading below the 1.17% high touched earlier this week. The dollar index slipped by 0.2% to 90.22, reflecting weakness against a basket of currencies.

On Thursday, Biden is likely to unveil the details of his proposed coronavirus economic relief program, which is said to range in the trillions of dollars.

Citing media reports, Stifel said in a research note that the proposal was expected to include another round of direct payments at $2,000 per qualifying person, and aid for state and local governments, as well as increased funding for vaccine distribution, schools, rental relief and small businesses.

Seasonally adjusted initial claims soared by 181,000 through Jan. 9 to 965,000, the highest level since the week ended Aug. 22, according to data from the Department of Labor Thursday. The consensus on Econoday was for 790,000. The previous week's outcome was revised down by 3,000 to 784,000.

The jump in claims is likely linked to seasonal issues, job cuts in the services sector from tightened COVID-19 restrictions and "potentially the latest relief bill, which may have prompted new filings," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets Economics. Lee, however, cautioned one week's move does not make a trend.

Meanwhile, China's trade surplus increased to a new record of $78.17 billion in December versus $47.25 billion a year ago, outpacing the $72.35 billion market consensus, according to a report from Trading Economics. Exports advanced 18% year-on-year, the seventh straight month of increases.

The Trump administration on Wednesday canceled plans to blacklist Alibaba (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU) from US investment, Reuters reported, citing four people familiar with the matter. Shares of Baidu jumped by 7% intraday, the most on Nasdaq. Alibaba was higher by 4%.

Intel (INTC) has significant technology challenges with no quick fix but the chief executive officer transition should provide a clear view of the company's manufacturing decisions and pipeline, Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients. Shares jumped by 4%.

In the precious metals markets, gold was down 0.5% to $1,845.65 an ounce, while silver was up 0.3% to $25.66 an ounce and copper was up 1.3% to $3.66 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund rose 0.2% to $35.85 and the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 2% to $9.74. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.1% to $35.67 and SPDR Gold Shares were down than 0.2% to $173.1. The iShares Silver Trust was up 1.5% to $23.79.

© MT Newswires 2021
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