U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds were mostly higher Thursday, as investors waited on President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for another round of coronavirus stimulus.
On Thursday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) fell 0.1%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) was up 0.4%, and iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) gained 0.2%.
Investors are hoping for a more aggressive Covid-19 relief package after the Labor Department’s weekly jobless report revealed the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, reflecting the consequences of a resurgence in new infections across the country, Reuters reports.
“The economy still needs help,” Douglas Butler, senior vice president and director of research at Rockland Trust, told the Wall Street journal, adding that with Democrats in control of both the White House and Congress, there should be more opportunities for additional stimulus to support market gains in the short term.
Biden will speak during prime time on Thursday evening. Many anticipate more details on a potential stimulus plan that could exceed $1.5 trillion.
“We’re really focused on the stimulus measures so we largely ignored the fact that we also had a really big spike in jobless claims,” Max Gokhman, head of asset allocation at Pacific Life Fund Advisors, told Reuters. “Perhaps it’s back to bad news is good news situation where market expects that deteriorating economic data will motivate lawmakers to issue even more stimulus.”
While U.S. markets have pushed toward new records, analysts have warned that near term risks like political uncertainties, a spike in coronavirus cases, and a slower than expected rollout of vaccines could slow gains for equities.
Investors are also waiting on the unofficial start to the earnings season, with results from JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo slated for Friday. First quarter and 2021 corporate guidance will be a major focus after new lockdowns threaten to delay the recovery.
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