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.
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.
This morning on my way back from the farmers’ market, I passed a Whole Foods Market selling small Christmas trees for my “holiday table.” It’s November 20. Thanksgiving is NEXT week. You may be noticed other signs of retailers jumping the seasonal gun.