After barely dragging higher over the last month, big tech stocks turned red hot this week. And next week, when we get earnings from Microsoft (MSFT), APPLE (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) could be even hotter.
Today the Standard & Poor’s 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the NASDAQ Composite all hit record highs. Likely cause? The peaceful inauguration of Joe Biden as President? Yesterday’s report of blow out gains in subscribers in the fourth quarter from Netflix (NFLX)? While the sigh of relief that the country wasn’t enveloped in another wave of violence at the 46th President took the oath of office certainly played a role, my vote on causation today goes to yesterday’s news from Netflix that the company added 8.5 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, far ahead of Wall Street projections for 6.03 million added subscribers. Netflix shares closed up 16.85% today.
At the close today the Standard & Poor’s 500 was off 0.66%. The Dow Jones industrial Average was lower by 0.29%. The NASDAQ Composite had fallen 1.255 and the NASDAQ 100 had dropped 1.55%. The small cap Russell 2000 was down just 0.03%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) finished with a loss of 1.33%. As you might conclude from those results from the indexes, the big culprit in today’s retreat was technology, especially big technology stocks.
Of course, a sector can rally on new cash coming off the sidelines. Often, however, when one sector rallies another falls as investors use profits from that sector to fund new buys. That seems to be what happened today when “green” stocks rallied and technology shares fell.
Yes, the big indexes were down today, January 4, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 off 1.48% at the close; the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.25%; and the NASDAQ Composite lower by 1.47%. But I think we can find some clues about tomorrow’s action–and the moves over the next month or more–from taking a look at individual stocks and sectors.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed up 0.64% today to a new closing high and ended the year ahead more than 16%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed in record territory after a gain of 0.65% on the day. The Dow is up about 7% for 2020. The NASDAQ Composite managed a gain of 0.14% to bring its gain to 40% for 2020. Today’s advance in the Santa Claus period–which historically also includes the first two trading days in January so it’s not quite over yet–is a good omen for 2021.
Today, Wednesday December 30, is pretty much the reverse image of yesterday’s stock market action. Traders are having fun–and making money, I’d hope–in the day to day action but I don’t see a trend in this market that might extend into 2021. So, for example, the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 0.13% today at the close in New York after falling 0.22% yesterday
With President Donald Trump signing the coronavirus stimulus/relief and fiscal 2021 government spending bill, financial markets can go back to their favorite holiday week activity–using the opportunity afforded by shrunken volumes to push up stocks. As of the close on December 28 in New York, the Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 0.87% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was ahead 0.68%. The NASDAQ Composite was higher by 0.74% and the NASDAQ 100 had gained 1.01%. The Russell 2000 small cap index was a laggard with a 0.38% loss. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) also lagged on continued Alibaba (BABA) turmoil in China with a gain of just 0.28%. Too soon to tell decisively, where the very short term action will be, in my opinion. But the day’s action is suggestive of where we can look for gains.
I’m starting up my videos on JubakAM.com again–this time using YouTube as a platform. The third YouTube video on What Apple and Microsoft’s moves on Intel mean for technology stocks went up today.
First, it was Apple (AAPL) moving away from Intel (INTC) chips in its entire line of Mac computers. Apple’s own new M1 chip has received positive reviews that support the company’s claims that its machines with the new chip out perform standard Intel or Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) PCs. Now, Microsoft (MSFT) is working on in-house processor designs for use in the servers that run the company’s cloud services. The software giant is using designs from Arm Holdings (in the process of being acquired by Nvidia (NVDA) for $40 billion) to produce a processor that will be used in its data centers. Microsoft is also exploring (which means, I think, that the effort hasn’t gone as far as “working on”) developing another chip that would power some of its Surface line of personal computers. The move by Microsoft would be a big deal.