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Stock market news live updates: Nasdaq sets fresh record close, S&P 500 and Dow retreat from recent highs

Emily McCormick
·Reporter
·6-min read

Stocks traded mixed on Friday, with the S&P 500 and Dow pulling back from record highs as COVID-19 concerns resurged and questions over whether more substantial stimulus would be passed in the near-term arose. The Nasdaq, however, set a fresh closing high.

The Dow dropped about 180 points, or 0.6%, as IBM (IBM) shares sank after the company reported quarterly revenue that declined for a tenth straight quarter. Shares of Intel (INTC) also dipped after the company’s quarterly earnings report, which reignited fears that the company would stay behind competitors in manufacturing the latest chip technology.

Investors have also been closely monitoring the first moves of the Biden administration. In his first days in office, President Joe Biden already signed a number of executive orders addressing key issues including the coronavirus pandemic, and unveiled a national virus containment strategy that included ramping up vaccine supplies to be able to administer 100 million vaccines in his first 100 days in office. He is poised to sign more executive orders addressing the virus-induced economic strain today.

One of his main upcoming challenges, however, will be advancing his $1.9 trillion coronavirus proposal through Congress, with some lawmakers already balking at the size and contents of the hefty bill. New economic data on Thursday, which showed that new weekly jobless claims came in at historically elevated 900,000 last week, underscored the economic toll of the pandemic even following the last $900 billion stimulus package. A Moody’s Analytics report found that the Biden administration stimulus plan would enable the U.S. labor market to recover its pandemic-era losses by the fall of 2022, or a year earlier than if no further stimulus were enacted.

“This is [going to be a] difficult process. We’re talking about $2 trillion or something around that after we’ve already spent $4 trillion. You have now a Republican minority, but very thin minority,” Joshua Lipsky, Atlantic Council GeoEconomics Center director, told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. “So what the Biden administration offered, as the press secretary said [Wednesday], was their offer. It’s a package. They’re open to negotiation.”

“I think the big pressure point here is going to be on state and local funding,” he added. “That’s where Republicans will want to see cuts, and that’s where Democrats see a real priority that’s actually been underfunded over the last year.”

Still, hopes for more stimulus as well as speculation over other policy changes under the Biden administration have been a key driver of equities over the past month, and have accelerated a rotation into some of the names most beaten-down earlier on during the pandemic. Though tech stocks again led the way higher during Thursday’s session, cyclicals including industrials, travel stocks and small caps had been performing strongly over the past couple of weeks.

“I’m looking at some of those names that were at the forefront of a lot of the trade tariff back-and-forth that we’ve heard over the past couple of years to see if any changes in policy maybe affect those stocks. You can think of companies like Caterpillar (CAT), companies like Boeing (BA). You could even look at some of those tech names,” Shawn Cruz, TD Ameritrade senior market strategist, told Yahoo Finance. “If you’re looking domestically, I think you want to look at a lot of those industrial companies that are highly levered to the U.S. economy … you can look at material companies as well. If we do get a lot of infrastructure spending, that can benefit those companies because they’re ultimately going to be the ones doing the work here. And you can also maybe even look at those renewable-energy type of plays.”

4:00 p.m. ET: S&P 500 and Dow drop while Nasdaq sets record close

Here’s where the three major indexes ended the trading day on Friday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -11.6 (-0.3%) to 3,841.47

  • Dow (^DJI): -179.03 (-0.57%) to 30.996.98

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +12.15 (+0.09%) to 13,543.06

1:22 p.m. ET: Stocks come off session lows, but still hold lower

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 1:22 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -7.08 (-0.18%) to 3,845.99

  • Dow (^DJI): -96.89 (-0.31%) to 31,079.12

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -11.75 (-0.09%) to 13,519.09

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.82 (-1.54%) to $52.31 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$11.30 (-0.61%) to $1,854.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.6 bps to yield 1.091%

10:05 a.m. ET: Existing home sales raced to a 14-year high in December, and ‘momentum is likely to carry into the new year’

Sales of previously owned homes in the U.S. surged in the final month of 2020 to the highest level since 2006, capping off an extraordinary year in the housing market.

Existing home sales jumped 0.7% in December over November, and 22% over December of last year, to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 6.76 million, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Consensus economists were looking for existing home sales to rise to 6.56 million.

“Home sales rose in December, and for 2020 as a whole, we saw sales perform at their highest levels since 2006, despite the pandemic,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a press statement. “What’s even better is that this momentum is likely to carry into the new year, with more buyers expected to enter the market.”

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open lower, Dow drops 150+ points

The three major indexes extended overnight losses to open lower Friday morning, and the Dow shed more than 150 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also fell, but by slightly slimmer margins, after both indexes touched record closing highs a day earlier.

The energy, materials and financials sectors led to the downside in the S&P 500 on Friday, unwinding some of their recent gains this month. IBM, Intel and Chevron lagged in the Dow.

7:25 a.m. ET Friday: Stock futures point to a lower open

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:26 a.m. ET Friday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,818.5, down 27.5 points or 0.72%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 30,830.00, down 252 points or 0.81%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,323.5, down 72 points or 0.54%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.28 (-2.41%) to $51.85 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$17.50 (-0.94%) to $1,848,40 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.8 bps to yield 1.089%

6:03 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures drift sideways

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:03 p.m. ET Thursday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,848.5, up 2.5 points or 0.07%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 31,072.00, down 10 points or 0.03%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,296.00, up 0.5 points or 0.00%

A trader makes a phone call outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 20, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street stocks were mixed early July, 20, 2020 as markets awaited congressional debate on another round of stimulus spending and major earnings releases later in the week. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
A trader makes a phone call outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 20, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. - Wall Street stocks were mixed early July, 20, 2020 as markets awaited congressional debate on another round of stimulus spending and major earnings releases later in the week. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

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