Stock market news live updates: Stock futures drift after indexes touch fresh record highs

Stock futures traded mixed Thursday evening after touching record highs yet again.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended the regular trading day at record closing levels, and the Dow ended just short of its own record high. Tech stocks led the advances, as the information technology, consumer discretionary and communication services sectors each outperformed.

Investors have 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.

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, companies like Boeing. 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.”

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%

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