Key indexes closed mixed Monday, as the Nasdaq hit a fresh closing high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average trimmed most of a 432-point loss.
The Nasdaq rose 0.7%, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% and the Dow Jones industrials dipped 0.1% in the stock market today. Small caps tracked by the Russell 2000 fell 0.4%. Early data showed higher volume on both major exchanges vs. Friday.
Stocks tumbled early Monday, but came back strong late in the session. Coronavirus vaccine updates, the proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, and upcoming earnings from Dow Jones stocks Apple and Microsoft were in focus.
Tech stocks boosted the Nasdaq to a 43.6% gain in 2020 for its fifth best year ever. The S&P 500 rose 16.3% and the Dow added 7.2%. Read The Big Picture for detailed daily market analysis.
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
Last Update: 4:16 PM ET 1/25/2021
On Nov. 4, after Election Day, IBD’s market outlook returned to “confirmed uptrend” as the major indexes staged big rallies. That gave the green light to buy leading stocks that are breaking out of solid bases.
Meantime, Covid-19 cases continue to rise globally. Worldwide cumulative coronavirus cases have topped 99.9 million, with over 2.1 million deaths, according to Worldometer. In the U.S., confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic surpassed 25.7 million, with a death toll close to 430,000.
As countries rush to distribute vaccines, Moderna (MRNA) gapped up and soared 12%. Shares are building the right side of a cup base with a potential 178.60 buy point. Moderna stock is about 18% off its Dec. 1 high.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech said lab tests showed its Covid-19 vaccine protects against the virus’s new strains first identified in the U.K. and South Africa. It plans to develop a booster dose for the South Africa strain.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which is expected to announce test results soon for its coronavirus vaccine, advanced 1.5% to a new high. The Dow giant’s vaccine is single dose, vs. Moderna’s and Pfizer‘s (PFE), which require two doses. J&J says its vaccine can be stored in a standard refrigerator for up to three months.
Merck (MRK) edged 0.2% higher after scrapping development of two vaccines it said proved inferior to those that have already been authorized. The Dow Jones member said it would refocus its efforts on potential Covid-19 treatments.
Dow Losers And Winners
Apple (AAPL), up 2.8% in heavy volume, was the Dow’s biggest winner. Raymond James boosted its price target on the iPhone maker to 150 from 140. Apple reports quarterly results Wednesday after the close.
Microsoft (MSFT) added 1.7% as it approaches a 228.22 buy point. It’s just above a 227.28 early entry. Wedbush raised its price target to 270 from 260 early Monday. The software giant, also a Leaderboard stock, reports Tuesday after the close.
Growth Stock Breakouts Today
Palantir Technologies (PLTR) surged 11% in heavy volume, breaking out past a 33.60 buy point of a cup base. The software maker’s 60 Composite Rating is weak, but a 98 Relative Strength Rating is strong. Palantir is a MarketSmith Growth 250 stock.
Over in the IBD 50, Ligand Pharmaceuticals (LGND) leapt 9% in busy trade to its highest level in over two years. The stock is now more than 20% extended from a 127.90 cup-base entry. The San Diego-based biotech is developing a pneumococcal vaccine with Merck.
Follow Nancy Gondo on Twitter at @IBD_NGondo
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