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Wall Street ends up-and-down day above the flatline as traders mull Trump, the pandemic and bond yields

Twitter and Facebook lost ground for the second day in a row after cracking down on Trump and QAnon

KB Home - Wall Street poised for rebound on Tuesday

4:15 pm: Traders find their way to positive territory

The blue chip index closed 60 points, 0.2%, higher on Tuesday in a sort of mini v-shaped recovery over the trading day. The Nasdaq gained 36 points, 0.3%, and the S&P 500 improved just 1.6 points, less than 0.1%, under similar circumstances. 

Banking stocks helped keep makets above water. The Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corporation (NYSE:BAC) and The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW) all saw gains of 1.5% or more.

Additionally, the benchmark 10-year note yield hit 1.187% Tuesday, its highest level since March. The 30-year bond rate rose to 1.88%.

1:55 pm:  Stocks in the green

Wall Street stocks turned positive having been lower earlier amid choppy trade as traders consider the continued rise in bond yields and the ongoing pandemic threat.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 39 points at 31,048 while the S&P 500 added around one point to stand at 3,800.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index advanced 33 points to 13,069.

Traders have seen the move in bonds as a sign of a potential rise in inflation, which they fear could prompt the US Federal Reserve to begin scaling back bond-buying (stimulus measure) earlier than expected.

Elsewhere, in corporate news, Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ;ZM) shares were higher as the tech company announced plans to raise $1.5 billion from a stock issue.

Zoom’s share price is up roughly 330% in the last 12 months due to demand seen for its services amid the pandemic, so the group is seeking to take advantage. On Tuesday, shares added 1.65% to US$343.27.

12:40 pm: Markets slink into the red

The Dow sank below the flatline in the late morning, dropping 43 points, 0.1%, to 30,965. The Nasdaq lost 37 points, 0.3%, to 13,000, and the S&P 500 fell 14 points, 0.4%, to 3,785. 

Social network giants Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) struggled for the second day in a row, each losing more than 2% following a ban on President Trump and, in the case of Twitter, some 70,000 accounts promoting QAnon conspiracy theories, according to media reports.

10:15 am: Proactive North America headlines:

Bam Bam Resources Corp (CSE:BBR) (OTCPINK:NPEZD) (FRA:4NPB) expands its Majuba Hill project in Nevada to more than 34 square kilometres

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (NASDAQ:LEXX) (NASDAQ:LEXXW) (CSE:LXX) prices $9.6M public offering as shares set to begin trading on the Nasdaq

NEXE Innovations Inc (CVE:NEXE) (OTCMKTS:NEXNF) (FRA:NX5) launches its new in-house brand XOMA Superfoods

Nomad Royalty Company Ltd (TSE:NSR) (FRA:IRLB) buys 0.21% royalty on near 'shovel-ready' Blackwater gold project for US$3M

PyroGenesis Canada Inc (TSX:PYR) (OTCQB:PYRNF) (FRA:8PY) forecasts uplift in revenue and earnings per share for 4Q and full year

HempFusion Wellness Inc (TSX:CBD.U)  wins USDA Organic Certification for its CBD tinctures

First Cobalt Corp (CVE:FCC) (OTCQX:FTSSF) (FRA:18P) signs a cobalt supply deal with Glencore for its refinery in northern Ontario

MindMed (MindMed) Inc (NEO:MMED) (OTCQB:MMEDF) (FRA:MMQ) announces study to evaluate the effects of daytime and evening administration of low doses of LSD

NexTech AR Solutions Corp (OTCQB:NEXCF) (NEO:NTAR) (FRA:N29) touts record C$7.3M 4Q bookings, projects triple its 2020 revenue for 2021

BetterLife Pharma Inc (CSE:BETR) (OTCQB:BETRF) (FRA:NPAU) spotlights busy 2021 product development roadmap for its psychedelic products, coronavirus nebulizer and AP-001 cream

Gungnir Resources Inc (CVE:GUG) (OTCPINK:ASWRF) (FRA:AMO1)  expands Knaften property by over 75% and plans to restart exploration in second quarter

9:40 am: Wall Street makes positive start

The main Wall Street indices managed to open positively across the board on Tuesday as traders looked to claw back some losses from Monday’s slump.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.09% at 31,036, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.13% to 3,804 and the Nasdaq rose 0.33% to 13,079.

Despite recent economic data showing a bleak outlook for US business, investors seem to be focusing instead on the potential for massive stimulus measures from Joe Biden when he takes over the presidency next week, as well as hope that the ongoing rollouts of vaccines may be able to turn the tide of COVID-19 despite surging infection rates in multiple countries.

7:50 am: Wall Street poised for partial rebound

As US president Donald Trump contemplates having his “You’re fired!” catchphrase fired back at him, US stocks look set to claw back some of yesterday’s losses.

The three major indices had a negative session for the first time this year yesterday and two of them look set to rebound this morning.

The odd one out is the Nasdaq Composite, which is expected to slide 88 points to 12,948.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is tipped to rise 56 points to 31,064 and the S&P 500 is expected to harden 9 points to 3,808.

“US stocks are steadying following yesterday’s decline as investors remain optimistic that Biden will unveil a multi-trillion fiscal stimulus plan on Thursday, the Fed is still far away from tightening, and that vaccine rollouts have the world nearing the other side of COVID,” said OANDA’s Edward Moya.

“Yesterday, Fed’s Bostic noted that a rate hike might be more in play in the second half of 2022, much sooner than Fed’s consensus view of raising at the end of 2023. If inflation rises too fast that could pose a problem, but we are still nowhere near that and tomorrow’s CPI [consumer prices] data should ease concerns. Vaccine rollouts have been messy, but as more vaccines get regional approval, risk appetite is thriving as we get closer to the other side of COVID,” he added.

The prospect of Trump being impeached for the second time and the reaction of his supports is somewhat dampening the mood, as is the NFIB index of small business sentiment, which dived in December in the wake of Trump’s electoral defeat.

The index fell to 95.9 from 101.4 in November, hitting the lowest reading since May. Economists were well off the mark with the consensus forecast of 100.3.

“The plunge in the NFIB index in the spring was due to the initial Covid shock, but the December index also likely has been pushed down by the defeat of President Trump; indeed, that might be the key factor behind the fall. NFIB members were thrilled by Mr Trump’s victory in 2016, and the headline index jumped by 10.9 points in November and December. The drop in the past two months is 8.1 points, so it’s not hard to regard it as the removal of much, though not all, of the Trump premium,” said Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“The details make for grim reading, with sharp falls in the volatile expectations components - economy, sales, and earnings - accompanied by declines in all the key labour market numbers and four-point drop in capex [capital expenditure] plans, to just 22. The pandemic low was 18 in April, and the pre-Covid trend was about 29,” he continued.

“The election of President Trump didn’t trigger a jump in capex plans, so this is not just the impact of his defeat in November; it’s more likely to be a Covid hit. The services economy cannot recover until the pandemic is over,” Shepherdson said.

Later today in the US, we will have the JOLTS job openings report for November, with the figure expected to dip to 6.5mln from 6.625mln previously.

Four things to watch for on Tuesday:

  • Few companies are reporting earnings figures on Tuesday, although housebuilder KB Home (NYSE:KBH) may interest some with its fourth quarter numbers
  • Also in focus will be Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) after the retail giant said on Monday afternoon that it will work with Ribbit Capital to develop a new fintech startup
  • Investors may also be interested in oil prices, which have rebounded recently on the back of predictions that US stockpiles may be on the decline, pushing up demand
  • Bitcoin will also remain in the spotlight following its recent tumble, with hopes that signs of economic stimulus could send investors back into riskier assets

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