S&P 500 hits record amid higher-than-expected jobless claims and continued Fed support

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 07, 2018 in New York City
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange .

  • The S&P 500 stretched further in record highs Thursday as the Federal Reserve signaled it will accommodate conditions for economic growth.
  • Technology stocks tracked on the Nasdaq Composite led gainers.
  • Jobless claims rose to 744,000, pointing to persistently high unemployment levels.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US stocks hung around record highs Thursday, with the S&P 500 hitting a new high after insight from the Federal Reserve indicated that monetary policy makers will maintain their stance in supporting growth in the world’s largest economy as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The S&P 500 index pushed further into record-high territory after reaching a closing peak in the previous session. Technology stocks marched up but blue-chip stocks tracked on the Dow Jones Industrial Average tilted slightly lower.

Stock futures ahead of the open showed little reaction to the Labor Department’s report that weekly jobless claims rose to 744,000, higher than the 680,000 claims expected by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The report indicated that unemployment remains at persistently high levels, with the previous week’s reading upwardly revised to 728,000 from 719,000.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday:

Members of the Fed’s rate-setting board expect “it would likely be some time until substantial further progress” on reaching targets of maximum employment and above-2% inflation, according to the minutes from the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee’s mid-March meeting released Wednesday.

“FOMC members were quite positive on short-term growth prospects, but made quite clear that short-term acceleration only goes so far towards their long-term “full employment” goal, suggesting even if growth remains robust through 2Q 2021, we’ll still be in a waiting pattern for Fed policy,” Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, told Insider in emailed comments.

“On balance, there was nothing material in the minutes which changes my view of a reduction in [quantitative easing] beginning in early-2022 followed by a potential first rate hike in late-2022,” said LeBas. “I view a 2022 QE reduction as much more likely than a 2022 rate hike,” he said. “If anything, the first hike will be later and the path of hikes steeper than what the markets have currently priced.”

Around the markets, GameStop shares rose after the video game retailer said it plans to elect Reddit favorite Ryan Cohen as chairman.

Trading app Robinhood reportedly failed to disclose data on certain stock trades for more than a year.

Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel warned bitcoin might serve as a Chinese financial weapon against the US – and says it threatens the dollar.

Gold rose 0.6% to $1,753.20 per ounce. Long-dated US Treasury yields fell, with the 10-year yield down at 1.647%.

Oil prices were mixed. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 1% to trade at $59.23 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped 0.6%, to $62.76 per barrel.

Bitcoin rose 2.1% to $57,546.

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S&P 500, Dow soar to records as stimulus signing extends recovery bullishness

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  • US stocks surged on Thursday as President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion relief package and investors doubled down on a swift recovery.
  • The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 both closed at record highs while surging tech stocks led the Nasdaq to outperform.
  • Weekly jobless claims reached 712,000, marking a sharp decline from the previous week’s sum and beating the median estimate of 725,000.
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US equities gained on Thursday as the president’s signing of a new stimulus bill further lifted hopes for a near-term economic rebound.

The Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 both closed at record highs. The Nasdaq composite outperformed as investors snapped up tech stocks that tumbled through last week.

President Joe Biden signed $1.9 trillion in new fiscal stimulus into law on Thursday, extending a new helping hand to households and businesses still shouldering the pandemic’s economic fallout. The plan gives struggling Americans “a fighting chance” in the last stages of the pandemic, Biden said.

The $1,400 payments included in the package will start to hit bank accounts as soon as this weekend, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Thursday:

Read more: Jefferies pinpoints 10 stocks poised to benefit the most from the strongest surge in consumer spending ‘in decades’ – and explains why each one is worth buying

Stocks traded mixed in the previous session as investors wavered between dumping tech names and buying the sector at lower prices. GameStop saw renewed volatility as retail investors fueled a rapid ascent and a just-as-swift decline that triggered six trading halts throughout the day.

The 10-year Treasury yield hovered at 1.53% on Thursday. Investors slowed their retreat from government debt after a key inflation report showed price growth in February landing below economist forecasts.

Economic data published Thursday further supported optimism toward the US recovery. Initial jobless claims for the week that ended Saturday totaled an unadjusted 712,000, according to the Labor Department. The sum is well below the previous week’s revised reading of 754,000 and the consensus economist estimate of 725,000 new claims.

Continuing claims, which track Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits, fell to 4.1 million for the week that ended February 27. That landed below the median estimate of 4.2 million claims.

The report shows a “clear drop” and suggests recent temporary job losses “have been more than offset by a decline in the underlying trend in claims,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.

“When states re-open, firms which may have been on the brink of layoffs have an incentive to hold onto staff for a while longer, at least,” he added. “We expect this effect to become much more powerful over the next couple of months, and we expect to see jobless claims falling rapidly through the spring.”

Roblox soared for a second straight day following its Wednesday direct listing. Cathie Wood’s Ark revealed it bought more than 500,000 shares of the gaming platform’s stock.

Bitcoin broke above key resistance levels and stabilized above $57,000. The popular cryptocurrency is now roughly $1,000 away from hitting record highs last seen in February.

Spot gold erased early gains and fell as much as 0.43%, to $1,719.30 per ounce. The US dollar weakened against Group-of-20 currency peers.

Oil prices gained. West Texas Intermediate crude rose as much as 2.75%, to $66.21 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped 2.8%, to $69.83 per barrel, at intraday highs.

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The recent sell-off has taken the ‘frothiness’ out of SPACs and has made mega-cap tech stocks look more attractive, Bespoke Investment says

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Traders at work at the New York Stock Exchange.

  • The air has escaped the “frothiest” parts of the market after huge gains, says Bespoke Investment.
  • “Extreme” selling in momentum stocks has left a number of them driven down by half.
  • The 30 largest stocks in the Russell 1000 have combined lost more than $1 trillion in market cap.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The recent slide in stocks has wiped out the “frothiness” in some of Wall Street’s hottest spots, said market research provider Bespoke Investment Group. The firm also said its analysts see some mega-caps as trading at “attractive” entry points following last week’s market sell-off.

Major US stock indexes have been knocked back as investors price in expectations for economic growth and higher inflation as the world’s largest economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Some Treasury yields, notably the 10-year yield which influences a range of lending programs, have been quickly pushed higher. This has triggered a selloff, particularly in technology stocks whose values have run higher since hitting a bear-market low in late-March 2020.

Over the last few weeks, “the air has completely come out of the frothiest parts of the market that saw mind-boggling moves to the upside in the 2-3 months prior to their recent peaks. In areas like SPACs, software, AI, solar, EVs, and cannabis, we’ve seen declines across the board ranging from 25%-60%,” Bespoke wrote in a note released late Friday.

“These areas could certainly continue lower, but for now the “frothiness” is completely gone,” it said.

The “extreme” selling in momentum stocks has left a number of previously high-fliers down by a third to a half in a matter of weeks, the group said. The note displayed a list of stocks on the Russell 1000 index that have recently traded the farthest from their 52-week highs. The list included exercise tech and equipment maker Peloton, solar microinverter producer Enphase Energy and cloud infrastructure company Cloudfare.

Some of the stocks on the list have traded the farthest below their analyst price targets. “Most of these look like ‘falling knives’ still to us, but we’ll let you decide if you like any of these from a technical perspective,” wrote Bespoke in the note.

Meanwhile, special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, “are getting hammered,” it said, noting that in aggregate, “a broad snapshot of names is down 20% from recent highs, with similar performance for SPACs that have announced deals,” while those that haven’t announced deals have been down 10%.

Turning to mega-caps, the 30 largest stocks in the Russell 1,000 have combined lost more than $1 trillion in market cap since the February 12th closing high for the Russell 1,000 and the S&P 500.

The five largest Russell 1,000 stocks — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — were at least 15% below their average analyst price target, paced by Amazon’s drop of 28%.

“It will be interesting to see if analysts stick to their guns and keep their price targets for these mega-caps, or if they decide to start lowering them,” said Bespoke. “For now, based on analyst opinions, the mega-caps are trading at attractive entry points.”

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Tech stocks slide as Senate’s stimulus approval boosts Treasury yields

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  • US equities fluctuated on Monday as the Senate’s approval of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package revived the value rotation.
  • Investors ditched tech stocks and Treasurys for value names and cyclicals in hopes for a swift economic rebound.
  • Oil erased early gains and slid after a Saudi Arabian crude terminal was attacked in a Sunday drone strike.
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US stocks wavered on Monday as the Senate’s approval of a massive new relief package revived the value rotation.

Senators voted along party lines on Saturday to push a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan closer to President Joe Biden’s desk. The package is expected to receive a final House vote on Tuesday, giving Democrats time to enact a supplement to federal unemployment benefits before the current boost expires on March 14. The package also includes $1,400 direct payments, aid for state and local governments, and funding for vaccine distribution.

The package is widely expected to accelerate economic growth and lift inflation. The bill’s Senate vote renewed investors’ moves out of growth stocks and Treasurys and into riskier sectors more likely to benefit from broad reopening. Rising yields cut into tech stocks’ appeal on Monday and cyclical stocks gained.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET market open on Monday:

The choppy session followed a broad market upswing to close out last week. Stocks rose on Friday as stronger-than-expected February payroll additions led investors to buy the dip in tech stocks. Government data also showed the unemployment rate falling to 6.2%, though other gauges of labor-market health remain at worrying highs.

Tesla tumbled for a fifth straight session as valuation concerns placed new pressure on pricey stocks. Index giants Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet also declined.

General Electric gained after The Wall Street Journal reported the company is nearing a deal to merge its jet-leasing arm with AerCap Holdings. The agreement, should it go through, would combine the world’s two largest aircraft financiers.

Bitcoin traded just below $51,000, hovering in an increasingly narrow trading range as investors look for the next driver to boost cryptocurrencies. The token has failed to hold the $52,000 support level since falling from record highs in late February.

Treasurys broadly tumbled, bringing the 10-year yield to an intraday high of 1.613%. The US dollar strengthened against a basket of Group-of-20 currencies.

Spot gold fell as much as 0.93%, to $1,684.72 per ounce, at intraday lows. The precious metal hadn’t traded below the $1,700 support level since June.

Oil prices erased early gains and dipped after a Saudi Arabian crude terminal was attacked by a drone on Sunday. West Texas Intermediate crude sank as much as 1%, to $65.43 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 0.97%, to $68.69 per barrel, at intraday lows.

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US stocks dip as rising Treasury yields take steam out of market rally

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., March 17, 2020.

  • US stocks fluctuated on Wednesday after disappointing labor-market data drove Treasury yields higher and sparked valuation concerns.
  • The US added 117,000 private payrolls in February, ADP said. That came in well below the 200,000 increase expected.
  • The report and sudden jump in yields offset optimism around the US having COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans by May.
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US equities traded mixed on Wednesday as stimulus optimism was offset by rising Treasury yields.

Early strength across stock sectors faded after ADP’s monthly employment report showed February job growth handily missing expectations. The US added 117,000 private payrolls last month, according to the report. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg anticipated a 200,000-payroll gain.

The reading signals the labor market is returning to growth after a nearly stagnant winter, but the weaker-than-expected data highlights just how difficult it will be for the economy to recoup millions of lost jobs.

Treasury yields swung higher soon after the report’s release. The move revived concerns of overstretched stock valuations and saw the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite underperform peers.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Wednesday:

The modest decline follows similar weakness in Tuesday’s session. Valuation concerns led tech stocks to weigh on major indices. The Nasdaq composite sank the most, tumbling 1.7% into the close.

ADP’s labor-market data overshadowed new optimism around the nation’s fight against the coronavirus. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday afternoon that the US will have enough vaccine doses for every American by the end of May, pulling forward the key forecast by two months.

The news comes as the rate of vaccination nears 2 million doses per day on average, well above the 1.3 million pace seen in the final week of February, according to Bloomberg data.

Democrats, meanwhile, continue to push the president’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal to a Senate vote. The House passed the measure on Saturday, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he aims to bring the bill to the Senate floor by mid-week. Biden ultimately aims to sign the package into law before expanded unemployment benefits lapse in mid-March.

The package is far from a done deal. Democrats are still haggling over some elements of the bill, including the size of a new supplement to unemployment insurance. The party needs all 50 votes to pass the bill through budget reconciliation, making any last-minute changes risky to the vote’s success.

Lyft rose after the company announced it enjoyed the best week for ridership since the start of the pandemic. Wedbush analysts on Tuesday named Lyft and Uber as top recovery plays, since reopening is expected to revive ride activity.

Bitcoin soared above $51,000 after trading as low as $47,118 on Tuesday. The run-up places the popular cryptocurrency at its highest levels since late February, when it tumbled from record highs.

Spot gold sank 1.7%, to $1,708.43, at intraday lows. The US dollar strengthened against Group-of-20 currencies and Treasury yields rose.

Oil prices shot higher amid the Treasury sell-off. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 2.3%, to $61.10 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped 2.4%, to $64.18 per barrel, at intraday highs.

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Tech stocks pare deep losses but still decline as Fed’s Powell eases concerns over runaway inflation

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Traders work, as a screen shows Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s news conference after the U.S. Federal Reserve interest rates announcement, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 30, 2019.

  • US stocks pared losses but closed lower on Tuesday after Fed chair Jerome Powell staved off fears of rampant inflation.
  • Stimulus and reopening could lift price growth, but the effect will likely be small and temporary, Powell said.
  • Bitcoin tanked below $49,000 after trading as high as $55,053.91 Monday afternoon as investors snapped up crypto profits.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US equities erased major losses and swung higher on Tuesday after commentary from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell eased concerns of stronger-than-expected inflation.

Growth favorites tumbled immediately after the open as investors bet on Biden-backed stimulus to supercharge the US recovery. The increasing likelihood of a stimulus boost has revived fears of near-term inflation as fiscal support lifts consumer spending. Value stocks and small caps historically outperform momentum names as inflation rises.

The rotation faded through the session as Powell testified to the Senate Banking Committee. New stimulus and economic recovery could lift inflation, but an uptick will likely be small and only temporary, Powell said, adding some reopening-fueled price growth is “a good problem to have.”

Falling COVID-19 case counts and vaccine rollouts “offer hope for a return to more normal conditions later this year,” he added.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Tuesday:

Aside from consumer discretionary stocks, every S&P 500 sector rose through the day. Energy and communications stocks rose the most.

The bounce-back marks a sharp reversal from the drop seen one session prior. Stocks closed mixed on Monday as inflation concerns pulled cash out of large-cap names and into reopening bets. The Nasdaq composite ended the session down nearly 2.5%, while the Dow rose slightly. 

Encouraging virus trends have also prompted investors to position for a summer recovery. The US reported 52,530 new cases on Monday, according to The COVID Tracking Project. That’s the lowest daily total since mid-October. And while the pace of vaccinations has moderated slightly from last week, the US is still averaging about 1.4 million doses a day.

Tesla sank for a second straight day, temporarily hitting its lowest level since December before rebounding. Monday’s losses saw more than $64 billion erased from the automaker’s market cap and led CEO Elon Musk to lose his title as the world’s wealthiest person.

AMC extended a two-day rally after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced movie theaters could reopen at 25% capacity in New York City next week.

Bitcoin plummeted as investors took profits from the cryptocurrency’s latest run-up. The token hovered around $47,000 after trading as high as $55,053.91 Monday afternoon. To be sure, prices are still up roughly 55% year-to-date.

Spot gold dipped as much as 0.77%, to $1,795.73 per ounce, at intraday lows before erasing most losses. The US dollar wavered against a basket of Group-of-20 currencies. Treasury yields edged higher as investors dumped the safe havens.

Oil prices erased early losses and rose. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 2.1%, to $63 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped 2.4%, to $66.79 per barrel.

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Tech stocks continue sharp slump as economic-recovery prospects stoke inflation fears

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  • US stocks declined on Tuesday as expectations for rising inflation dragged on tech mega-caps.
  • Investors rotated further to value stocks and small caps from growth names as stimulus optimism fueled bets on economic recovery.
  • Bitcoin tanked below $49,000 after trading as high as $55,053.91 Monday afternoon as investors snapped up crypto profits.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US equities broadly fell on Tuesday as positioning for strong economic growth and a pickup in inflation weighed on the tech sector.

Growth favorites faced fresh pressure after the open as investors bet on Biden-backed stimulus to supercharge the US recovery. The increasing likelihood of a stimulus boost has revived concerns of near-term inflation as fiscal support lifts consumer spending. Value stocks and small caps historically outperform momentum names as inflation rises.

Tech mega-caps that fueled the market’s first bounce from pandemic lows saw the most intense selling. The Dow Jones industrial average outperformed amid hopes the economic rebound would revive ailing sectors.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Tuesday:

The tech-led decline mirrors the drop seen to start the week. Stocks closed mixed on Monday as inflation concerns pulled cash out of large-cap names and into reopening bets. The Nasdaq composite ended the session down nearly 2.5%, while the Dow rose slightly. 

Falling COVID-19 case counts have also prompted investors to position for a summer recovery. The US reported 52,530 new cases on Monday, according to The COVID Tracking Project. That’s the lowest daily total since mid-October. And while the pace of vaccinations has moderated slightly from last week, the US is still averaging about 1.4 million doses a day.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is expected to ease fears of overwhelming inflation when he testifies to the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m. ET. Central bank officials have signaled in recent weeks that, though stimulus may lift inflation soon after its passage, the increase will likely be temporary.

Tesla sank for a second straight day to its lowest level since December. Monday’s losses saw more than $64 billion erased from the automaker’s market cap and led CEO Elon Musk to lose his title as the world’s wealthiest person.

Bitcoin plummeted as investors took profits from the cryptocurrency’s latest run-up. The token hovered just below $49,000 after trading as high as $55,053.91 Monday afternoon. To be sure, prices are still up more than 60% year-to-date.

Spot gold dipped as much as 0.3%, to $1,803.73 per ounce, at intraday lows before erasing most losses. The US dollar strengthened slightly against a basket of Group-of-20 currencies. Treasury yields edged higher as investors dumped the safe havens.

Oil prices pared early gains and tumbled. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 0.72%, to $61.25 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped 0.35%, to $65.01 per barrel.

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US stocks dip as market rally pauses near record highs

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Traders on the floor react before the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on March 9, 2020 in New York.

  • US stocks edged lower from all-time highs on Friday as investors mulled how much further the market could climb.
  • Optimism around vaccinations and new stimulus has run up against concerns of unsustainable valuations.
  • Bitcoin traded around $47,500 after notching a record high late Thursday. Adoption from BNY Mellon, Mastercard and Tesla sent prices soaring through the week.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US equities fell slightly on Friday as bullish investors stopped to take stock of the market’s record-setting rally.

The S&P 500 climbed to an all-time high on Thursday as stimulus hopes and declining jobless claims bolstered bullish sentiments. Momentum has since stalled as investors weigh whether stocks have room to move higher. While Democrats continue to push for a $1.9 trillion relief package, stretched valuations and lasting pain in the labor market stand to curb further gains.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Friday:

Read more: A crypto CEO breaks down why Tesla adding bitcoin to its balance sheet will create a ‘domino effect’ that lifts the cryptocurrency to $100,000 by the end of 2021 – and says Dogecoin is destined for a GameStop-style plunge

Separately, the emergence of new COVID-19 strains threatens optimism around an improving pace of vaccination. The US administered 1.62 million doses per day on average last week, bringing the nationwide total to 48 million vaccinations. President Joe Biden announced Thursday the drive will accelerate further still, with the US completing orders for 100 million additional doses from Pfizer and Moderna.

Yet public health experts have warned the shots are less effective against new, rapidly spreading strains of COVID-19. Investors are sure to monitor whether the UK and South African virus variants will cut into efforts to reach herd immunity.

Coronavirus case counts suggest the strains aren’t yet throwing the US into another wave of infections. The country reported 103,024 new cases on Thursday, down significantly from levels seen just one month ago. Hospitalizations declined further to 74,225, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

Earnings season continued. Disney gained after reporting earnings and revenue above Wall Street’s expectations. Subscribers for its Disney Plus streaming service neared 95 million even as a free-trial deal with Verizon customers ended, the company said.

Read more: Wall Street veteran Peter Kraus breaks down why investors should expect about a 10% to 15% market correction ahead – and shares his thoughts on the GameStop drama, SPAC mania, and bitcoin craze.

Bumble gained again after soaring 64% in its Thursday trading debut. The dating app raised $2.2 billion on Wednesday offering 50 million shares for $43 each. The post-IPO pop suggests demand for new offerings will remain strong in 2021.

Bitcoin stabilized around $47,500 after falling from a record-high of 48,925.53 Thursday night. Backing from industry giants including Tesla and BNY Mellon has reinvigorated the cryptocurrency and lifted prices throughout the week.

Spot gold edged as much as 0.81% lower, to $1,810.67 per ounce. The US dollar strengthened against a basket of Group-of-20 currency peers and Treasury yields climbed.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 1.4%, to $57.41 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was down 1.3%, to $60.34 per barrel, at intraday lows before paring most losses.

Read more: JP Morgan says 2021 is a ‘stockpickers’ paradise with big money-making opportunities’ – Here’s the firm’s 22 ‘highest conviction’ small-cap investment ideas

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Dow climbs 345 points as concerns of Reddit-fueled volatility cool

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  • US stocks rose for the second straight session as day-trader volatility eased from last week’s highs.
  • GameStop, AMC Entertainment, and other Reddit darlings fell as retail investors took profits.
  • Alphabet and Amazon are set to influence Wednesday’s action by reporting earnings after the market close.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US equities gained for the second straight day as the unwinding of retail-trader volatility aided sentiment.

Stocks recently boosted by an army of casual investors sank as profit-taking finally caught up with their weeks-long rallies. GameStop, AMC, and BlackBerry all traded lower, though not harshly enough to erase their steep rallies. Traders in the Wall Street Bets subreddit urged members to keep holding shares, but brokers’ trading restrictions and concerns about the bubble bursting have driven selling.

Elsewhere, investors cheered President Joe Biden’s push to pass a massive economic stimulus bill. The president met with 10 Senate Republicans on Monday to discuss their much smaller counterproposal. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said that though the meeting was “productive,” the administration would “not settle for a package that fails to meet the moment.”

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Tuesday:

Read more: Buy these 26 heavily shorted stocks as retail traders trigger wild rallies in Wall Street’s least liked names, Wells Fargo says

Stocks were also lifted by signs that the worst stage of the coronavirus pandemic is abating. Daily new cases have fallen to their lowest since early November, and hospitalizations have trended lower in recent weeks. Vaccinations have accelerated, suggesting the country could be on its way to a reopening.

Earnings season charges on after the close with Google’s parent, Alphabet, and Amazon set to report quarterly figures. The companies’ large weightings in benchmark indexes mean their reports could drag the broader market lower on Wednesday or extend the week’s rally.

Pfizer, UPS, and Exxon Mobil all climbed after reporting earnings ahead of the market open.

Read more: The investing chief at a $200 million hedge fund that earned 300% on its Bed Bath & Beyond trade breaks down why the GameStop mania is ‘just the beginning’ – and shares another stock he believes will similarly spike

Virgin Galactic leaped for the second consecutive session amid high hopes for a new test flight. The company said on Monday that it would conduct a rocket-powered trial as early as February 13.

Bitcoin neared $35,000 after trading below the $34,000 support level for much of the weekend. The popular cryptocurrency has regained some momentum in recent sessions following its late-January slide below $30,000.

Spot gold slid 1.7%, to $1,829.91 per ounce, at intraday lows. The US dollar weakened slightly against a basket of Group-of-20 currency peers, and Treasury yields rose.

Oil prices climbed. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 2.7%, to $55.02 per barrel, its highest level in a year. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, gained 3.5%, to $57.84 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Read more: The GameStop mania driven by Reddit traders isn’t simple market trolling. It’s a populist movement threatening to disrupt the financial system to a degree Occupy Wall Street only dreamed of.

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US stocks climb amid optimism around Biden’s COVID-19 plan and stimulus push

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  • US stocks gained on Thursday as investors cheered the Biden administration’s plan to better tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • President Joe Biden on Wednesday revealed plans to accelerate testing, vaccine rollouts, and reopenings.
  • Initial jobless claims fell to 900,000 last week, according to the Labor Department. Economists expected claims to total 935,000.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US equities rose on Thursday as investors bet on the Biden administration to accelerate the nation’s economic recovery.

President Joe Biden unveiled new plans for how the government will tackle the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday. The president aims to sign 10 executive orders and invoke the Defense Production Act to accelerate testing, vaccine distribution, and reopen schools and businesses.

Efforts to better curb on the virus’s spread are set to join a push for additional fiscal support. The president called for a $1.9 trillion stimulus package earlier in the month that includes $1,400 direct payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and relief for states and municipalities.

Republicans are likely to oppose the measure, having previously balked at passing new aid for governments. Still, expectations for another large-scale spending bill have led analysts to lift growth forecasts and S&P 500 targets.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Thursday:

Read more: The chief investment strategist at a $9.6 billion volatility-focused money manager breaks down why the stock market is poised to get more chaotic in 2021 – and shares how investors can take advantage of it

Tech stocks continued to climb after Netflix’s healthy earnings beat boosted indexes the session prior. Equities hit record highs on Wednesday as Biden’s inauguration amplified hopes for fresh fiscal stimulus and a stronger economic recovery. The jump was the largest Inauguration Day return in nearly a century.

In economic data, weekly filings for unemployment benefits totaled an unadjusted 900,000 last week as the labor market’s recovery continued to push up against elevated COVID-19 cases. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected claims to reach 935,000. 

Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment-insurance payments, fell to 5.1 million for the week that ended January 9. That came in below the median economist estimate of 5.3 million claims.

“Fiscal stimulus prospects, along with broader vaccine diffusion, are pointing to a brightening labor market outlook but with the pandemic still raging, claims are poised to remain elevated in the near-term,” Lydia Boussour, lead US economist at Oxford Economics, said.

Read more: We spoke to Winklevoss-backed crypto platform Gemini about bitcoin, how to use stable coins, and why regulation won’t kill the boom in digital currencies

United Airlines sank after its fourth-quarter report missed Wall Street expectations for revenue and profit. The company cautioned that, despite vaccines being distributed nationwide, the pandemic will weigh on travel activity throughout 2021.

Bitcoin slid below the $32,000 support level as sell-offs cut further into the cryptocurrency’s bullish momentum. The token hit a 24-hour low of $31,310.75 before paring some losses.

Gold dipped as much as 0.7%, to $1,858.42 per ounce. The dollar weakened against a basked of Group-of-20 currencies and Treasury yields climbed slightly.

Oil prices fell but remained above the $50 support level. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 1.1%, to $52.75 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, declined 1%, to $55.51 per barrel, at intraday lows.

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GOLDMAN SACHS: These 22 stocks still haven’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels – and are set to explode amid higher earnings in 2021 as the economy recovers

The S&P 500 will jump another 8% – but looming risks could spark a sudden pullback, RBC says

‘Final nail in the bear case coffin’: Here’s what 4 analysts had to say about Netflix’s 4th-quarter earnings

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