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Markets hit record closing highs as Biden administration begins

Joe Biden was sworn in with markets broadly above water

Flag in focus in the foreground with Capitol building in background

4:15 pm: Traders give President Biden a warm welcome

The Dow closed 258 points higher, a 0.8% gain, to a record close of 31,188. The S&P improved 53 points, 1.4% to 3,852, also a record. The Nasdaq Composite rose 260 points, 2%, to 13,457.

Netflix continued to gain over the course of the day after it posted net subscriber additions of 8.5 millions, ahead of 6.5 million expectations. The streaming company also said it was considering buybacks, per CNBC, and its stock jumped nearly 17% to $586.34.

12:15 pm: Traders propel S&P 500 to record high, Netflix jumps

The Dow was up 212 points, 0.7%, to 31,143 at midday. The Nasdaq Composite gained 234 points, 1.8%, to 13,431, and the S&P 500 improved 46 points, 1.2%, to 3,845, hitting an intraday record in the process.

"Traders are in risk-on mode as Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next US president," CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden wrote Wednesday. "Mr Biden is keen to stimulate the economy. Last week, he announced a $1.9 trillion relief package but the spending won’t stop there as he also has big infrastructure, energy and education investment plans. There is a view in the markets that more spending is in the pipeline, after all, Mr Biden will want to start his presidency on a positive note."

Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) soared more than 14% to $574.80 after the streaming titan suggested it was considering share buybacks, CNBC reported

10:15 am: Proactive North America headlines:

First Mining Gold Corp (TSE:FF) (OTCQX:FFMGF) (FRA:FMG) marks major milestone for Springpole asset with release of positive pre-feasibility study

Nextech AR Solutions Corp (OTCQB:NEXCF) (NEO:NTAR) (FRA:N29) integrates Microsoft Azure cloud computing into augmented reality and virtual experience offerings

Aurania Resources Ltd (CVE:ARU) (OTCQB:AUIAF) (FRA:20Q)  says geophysical survey has identified possible centre of IOCG system at Lost Cities - Cutucu project

Ridgeline Minerals Corp (CVE:RDG) (OTCMKTS:RDGMF) (FRA:0GC0)  expands previously announced silver-gold discovery at Selena project

MindMed (MindMed) Inc (NEO:MMED) (OTCQB:MMEDF) (FRA:MMQ) announces start of first-ever clinical trial evaluating the combination of MDMA and LSD in humans

Gevo Inc (NASDAQ:GEVO) says it has struck definitive agreements with institutional investors for $350M registered direct offering

NEXE Innovations Inc (CVE:NEXE) (OTCMKTS:NEXNF) (FRA:NX5) divulges rapid plant expansion, doubling its operating footprint.

Tocvan Ventures  Corp (CSE:TOC) (FRA:TV3) names Rodrigo Calles-Montijo as new director and Mexico exploration and corporate development manager

Cabral Gold Inc (CVE:CBR) (OTCPINK:CBGZF) (FRA:C3J) identifies a 'compelling' new drill target at its Cuiú Cuiú gold project in Brazil

Mountain Valley MD Holdings Inc (CSE:MVMD) (OTCMKTS:MVMDF) (FRA:20MP) files patent for aluminum adjuvant process to get 'more bang for your buck out of vaccines'

9:50 am: Wall Street on front foot

The main indices on Wall Street started Wednesday’s session in positive territory as Joe Biden’s inauguration continued to draw closer.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.33% at 31,032, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.57% to 3,820 and the Nasdaq rose 1.03% to 13,333.

Ahead of Biden’s swearing in, scheduled for around 12pm Eastern Time, Donald Trump has already left the White House for the last time and held a brief farewell rally at an airfield outside Washington DC before departing on Air Force One to his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.

However, while Biden is likely to hail the transition of power as the US turning over a new leaf, his presidential in-tray will be stacked with a pile of urgent matters to be addressed when he takes office, notably getting a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic recession as well as longer-term issues such as climate change and US race relations.

7:51am: Wall Street to open higher

Wall Street is expected to open in the green on Inauguration Day, when Joe Biden will officially become US President marking the end of the Trump era.

Spread-betters IG expect the Dow Jones Industrial Average will open up around 30 points, while the S&P 500 is expected to rise 13.5 points and the Nasdaq is predicted to jump 110 points.

“The stalwart of US politics is known for fostering good relations across the political divide, so his speech is likely to focus on healing the social, political and financial divisions in the US. Last week, Mr Biden announced a US$1.9 trillion stimulus plan, which includes providing assistance to struggling individuals and government bodies,” said David Madden at CMC Markets.

“There is speculation that Mr Biden will reveal major investment plans in the first few weeks of his presidency, which should cover green energy, education as well as infrastructure. Traders are looking forward to having a more measured individual being commander-in-chief of the world’s largest economy, as Mr Trump’s often erratic behaviour will not be missed by many.”        

Aside from the political arena, earnings season will continue to progress with numbers from the banking and consumer goods sectors, while the macro diary is somewhat threadbare in the mid-week.

Five things to watch for on Wednesday:

  • Away from the pomp and ceremony of the inauguration, the earnings cycle will continue on Wednesday with banking giant Morgan Stanley among the big names as it releases fourth quarter numbers
  • Other groups in the diary include Gilette and Charmin maker Proctor & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG), which will deliver numbers for its second quarter, and finance firm US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) which is reporting for the fourth quarter
  • Meanwhile, investors will be keeping an eye on shares in for-profit healthcare firm UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) after the company’s fourth-quarter profit fell less than forecast
  • Meat products group Tyson Foods Inc (NYSE:TSN) may also attract some interest after it agreed to pay a US$221mln fine to settle a chicken broiler antitrust case
  • Finally, shares in Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) are also likely to receive a bump at the opening bell after the streaming giant surpassed 200mln subscribers for the first time after adding 8.5mln new customers in its fourth quarter

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