Dow slides 165 points in turbulent trading investors digest mounting inflation and Fed minutes

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  • US stocks finished lower in turbulent trading as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s April meeting minutes and continued to warily eye inflation.
  • Some Fed officials signaled they would be open “at some point” to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases.
  • Bitcoin fell as low as $30,000 per coin on the day before staging a rebound, while ethereum dropped to under $2,500 before paring losses.
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US stocks closed in the red Wednesday, though pared deep earlier losses, as investors digested minutes from the Federal Reserve’s April meeting and continued to warily eye inflation.

The minutes showed central bank officials were cautiously optimistic about the US recovery. Some officials signaled they would be open “at some point” to begin discussing a plan for adjusting the pace of asset purchases.

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

Read more: Buy these 20 infrastructure stocks set to crush the market as Congress prepares a multi-trillion-dollar deal, Raymond James says

Jefferies’ Aneta Markowska said the signal about the plan to start adjusting purchases came as a surprise.

“It sounds like the Committee inadvertently started talking about, talking about, talking about tapering. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, the suggestion was only voiced by ‘a number of participants’, and it was conditional on ‘continued rapid progress,'” she said, saying this will not change the timeline for tapering which will be signaled more formally in late August.

She added: “But, it is certainly a change from what we’ve heard so far, and something that Powell did not convey during the press conference. At the very least, it suggests that Kaplan is not the only Fed official getting antsy about the current policy stance,” she added.

Cryptocurrencies whipsawed throughout the day. Bitcoin has fallen to as low as $30,681 and climbed as high as $43,609 within the last 24 hours. The world’s largest cryptocurrency currently is hovering around $38,000. Other cryptocurrencies held on to double-digit percentage losses. Cryptocurrency-linked stocks like Coinbase and Riot Blockchain also fell.

Amid the crypto carnage, some investors remained bullish. Cathie Wood reiterated Ark Invest’s view that bitcoin will climb to $500,000 over the long term in a Bloomberg interview. Meanwhile Microstrategy’s Michael Saylor tweeted: “I’m not selling,” in a reference to bitcoin.

Lumber prices fell for an eighth straight day on Wednesday, deepening a roughly 30% pullback in the commodity.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 5.4%, to $61.95 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, slid 5%, to $65.30 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Gold climbed as much as 1.1%, to $1,890.13 per ounce.

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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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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 lead losses as US indices pull back from rally

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US stocks were lower on Tuesday with tech stocks leading losses in the Nasdaq and S&P 500 after a strong rally on Monday led investors to profit-taking. 

US and European markets are racing ahead of their real economies, potentially creating bubbles that could pop, China’s banking regulator has warned.  Guo Shuqing, chair of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said US and European markets are racing ahead of their real economies, potentially creating bubbles that could pop. 

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Monday:

SEC chair nominee Gary Gensler said the agency under his watch would at look ensuring investors get “best execution” for their trades and whether payment for order flow provides that during a virtual confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Banking Committee today. 

Gensler also said the SEC will seek to eliminate fraud and manipulation in crypto markets. 

Several ETF filings made excited investors today. In the latest attempt to launch a bitcoin ETF in the US, the Chicago Board Options Exchange filed an SEC request for approval of VanEck’s bitcoin ETF on Monday. In Canada, Evolve Funds filed a prospectus for an ETF that would track Ether, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency. 

An exchange-traded fund designed to track sentiment on platforms like Reddit, StockTwits, and Twitter will launch on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday, the Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy promoted the fund.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 1.58%, to $59.68 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, declined by 1.65%, to $62.64 per barrel.

Gold fell around 0.6%, to $1,733.40 per ounce.

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Dow falls 561 points, tech stocks plunge as spiking bond yields rattle investor nerves

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Tech stocks led a plunge in US stocks as the 10-year Treasury yield spiked to its highest point in a year. 

The 10-year yield hit a high above 1.6%, punching above 1.5% for the first time since February 21, 2020. The move came just a day after it pushed past 1.40%.

“Thursday’s stock market declines are largely driven by the 10-year Treasury yield breaching the crucial 1.5% level. Higher Treasury yields call for lower stock market valuations. Rising bond yields make stocks look less attractive. If an investor can score a higher yield in the bond market, they may move money out of stocks and into bonds,” said James McDonald, Hercules Investments CEO. 

“In addition to making stocks look less attractive, rising bond yields are also a drag on businesses and the economy. Rising bond yields generally result in higher borrowing costs,” he added.

Better-than-expected jobless claims Thursday morning played into the narrative that the US economy is on pace for strong economic growth this year, further fueling expectations for an increase in inflation. 

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Thursday:

GameStop, AMC, BlackBerry, and Nokia climbed higher on Thursday as Reddit traders returned to their favorite nostalgia-trade stocks. The GameStop surge could be in part to blame for this week’s stock market sell-off as hedge funds scramble to reduce leverage, according to Fundstrat’s Tom Lee. 

Best Buy stock slumped over 10% on Thursday, hurt by fourth-quarter revenue that fell short of Wall Street’s target and the electronic retailer’s outlook for a potential decline in same-store sales in the current quarter.

Shares of Tesla slipped as much as 4% on Thursday as a report said the EV maker will idle the Model 3 line at its Fremont, California factory for two weeks. Staff on the Model 3 line in Fremont were told production would be shut down until March 7 without an explanation, according to unnamed Bloomberg sources.

Bitcoin hovered around $49,000. Ark Invest founder Cathie Wood said she could see the cryptocurrency’s market cap swelling into the trillions during a panel Thursday.

Oil prices were mixed. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.2%, to $63.34 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell by 0.31%, to $66.83 per barrel.

Gold fell around 1.5%, to $1,769.90 per ounce. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tech stocks slide as inflation fears mount amid strong labor-market data

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

US stocks opened lower on Thursday morning, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq sliding as investors mulled how better-than-expected jobless data would impact inflation. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.45%, around the highest level in a year. 

730,000 Americans filed for unemployment in the week that ended Saturday. That’s lower than the 825,000 initial jobless claims economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. 

“The sharp drop in jobless claims likely is due to people in states hit hardest by last week’s huge storm, especially Texas, having better things to do than make jobless claims,” said Ian Shepherdson, Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist. “We expect a rebound next week. The trend seems to be about flat, but we remain of the view that claims will soon start to trend down, slowly at first but then more quickly as the reopening of the economy accelerates in April and May.” 

Continuing claims, which track Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits, dropped to 4.4 million for the week that ended February 13. Economists projected continuing claims to decline slightly to 4.5 million.

US durable goods orders rose 3.4% in January, beating analyst estimates of 1.1%.

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

Stocks popular among Reddit traders rallied in premarket trading Thursday. GameStop surged another 67% in early trading on Thursday after the stock more than doubled the previous day. The stock rose to $152.70 per share as of 8 a.m. ET, after closing 104% higher at $91.71 on Wednesday. AMC Entertainment rose 15%, Express Inc climbed 14%, and Koss gained 98%.

Coinbase is seeking a direct listing on the Nasdaq, according to paperwork the company filed with the SEC on Thursday. The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US said revenue surpassed $1 billion in 2020. 

Analysts at investment giant Pimco said in a Wednesday note the US economy could grow by 7.5% in 2021 – a rate not seen since the 1950s – as a result of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger blasted Robinhood, slammed SPACs and dismissed bitcoin at the Daily Journal annual meeting Wednesday afternoon. Here are the highlights.

Bitcoin climbed above $51,000 Thursday morning.

Oil prices were lower. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.62%, to $62.83 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell by 0.61%, to $66.61 per barrel.

Gold fell around 1%, to $1,780.10 per ounce. 

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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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S&P 500 falls for the first time this week as US stocks edge lower

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Shares of GameStop have staged a gravity-defying rally in recent weeks.

  • US equities fell on Friday after closing at record highs and the S&P 500 fell for the first time this week.
  • GameStop finished a chaotic week in the market after retail investors thwarted short sellers and volatility prompted a trading halt.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US equities fell on Friday after closing at record highs as investors weighed the outlook for President Joe Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill and grew concerned amid reports that the new coronavirus variant may be deadlier. The S&P 500 fell for the first time this week. 

There is some evidence the new variant of the coronavirus first identified in the UK may be up to 30% more deadly than previous variants, the UK government has said.

A key gauge of US business activity swung higher this month as strong demand lifted manufacturers and service businesses alike. IHS Markit’s composite output index climbed to 58 from 55.3 in an early January reading, hitting its highest level in two months.

Credit- and debit-card spending accelerated through the first two weeks of January as stimulus passed by President Donald Trump bolstered households’ balance sheets. Card spending climbed 6% from the year-ago period over the week that ended January 16, Bank of America said in a Thursday note, citing aggregated card data.

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

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 26 renewable-energy stocks best-positioned to benefit from increased spending as governments aim for net-zero emissions

GameStop surged as much as 78% on Friday as investors looking to thwart short sellers piled further into the stock and triggered a trading halt.

Shares of GameStop have staged a gravity-defying rally in recent weeks, with shares up as much as 307% year to date based on Friday’s intraday high.

The short seller Andrew Left of Citron Research tweeted that he was ending his bearish commentary on GameStop after he said an “angry mob” of investors harassed him and his family over the past 48 hours.

Canada’s Horizons ETF Management announced Friday that it filed its final prospectus to launch the Horizons Psychedelic Stock Index ETF (PSYK). It will be the first psychedelics ETF and begins trading on the Canadian NEO exchange on Wednesday.

Bitcoin recovered to $33,817 Friday afternoon after tumbling to about $28,000 in the early-morning hours. Comments from Janet Yellen, Biden’s Treasury secretary nominee, and a report of a “double spend” gave bitcoin investors a tumultuous week

Gold fell 0.61% to $1,854.60 per ounce. The dollar weakened against a basket of Group of 20 currencies, and Treasury yields fell slightly.

Oil prices fell but remained above the $50 support level. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 1.86% to $52.14 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, declined 1.52% to $55.25 per barrel.

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