Thursday, 21 Jan 2021

S&P 500, Nasdaq at record highs ahead of Trump speech

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes rose to record highs on Tuesday as trade-sensitive technology stocks gained ahead of a much-awaited speech by President Donald Trump, which was likely to provide some clarity on the U.S.-China tariff talks.

Hopes of a resolution to the 16-month long tariff dispute and a strong corporate earnings season have powered Wall Street’s gains so far this month.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading higher, with the technology sector’s .SPLRCT 0.53% rise providing the biggest boost, followed by healthcare shares .SPXHC.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX gained 0.84%.

Trump is scheduled to discuss the country’s trade policy at the Economic Club of New York later on Tuesday and markets are likely to hang on to every word.

“There is some optimism that Trump will tell people something they like to hear, whether it’s the civics or a general delay in tariffs,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee.

“The focus is very much on those expectations on ‘if not good news then at least the avoidance of bad news’ from Trump.”

About three quarters of the S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far have topped analysts’ profit expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

A fresh set of economic data is also expected later this week. Retail sales in October is expected to rebound from a surprise contraction in the previous month and industrial production is likely to decline by the same measure as last month.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will give his comments on the domestic economic outlook this week.

At 11:40 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 43.08 points, or 0.16%, at 27,734.57, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 11.65 points, or 0.38%, at 3,098.66 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 42.67 points, or 0.50%, at 8,506.95.

Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) rose 1.62% as the company launched its widely awaited streaming service, Disney+. Netflix (NFLX.O) shares were down 0.6%.

Rockwell Automation Inc (ROK.N) jumped 12.5% as the factory automation equipment maker beat fourth-quarter profit expectations.

CBS Corp (CBS.N) dropped 2% after the media company missed quarterly revenue estimates. Shares of Viacom Inc (VIAB.O), which is merging with CBS, were also down nearly 2%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.42-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.36-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 38 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 91 new highs and 61 new lows.

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