Stock Market Today 1/19/21: Investors Cheer Yellen Remarks on Stimulus, Taxes – Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Sitting before Congress for her confirmation hearing, Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, caught the eye of Wall Street as well.

The former Federal Reserve chair urged listeners there to act swiftly and strongly on additional COVID-19 aid, saying “The smartest thing we can do is act big.”

“President-Elect Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen as Secretary of Treasury was largely seen as a positive by investors,” says the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. “Yellen has been a proponent of fiscal stimulus, which benefits the (financial) sector, and she is viewed as being a more moderate choice from a regulation perspective.”

That helped investors look past a new low point on the coronavirus front – Johns Hopkins reported that America’s COVID death toll has surpassed 400,000 – as well as another mixed earnings report from a Big Four bank, this time Bank of America (BAC, -0.7%), which beat profit expectations but came up short on revenues.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.4% higher to 30,930, led by American Express (AXP, +3.8%) and Boeing (BA, +3.1%).

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 gained 0.8% to 3,798.
  • The Russell 2000 rebounded 1.3% to 2,151.
  • Gold futures improved by 0.6% to $1,840.20 per ounce.
  • U.S. crude oil futures bounced back from a rough Friday, jumping 1.2% to settle at $52.98 per barrel.
  • Bitcoin prices, at $36,274 on Monday, improved by 0.4% to $36,433. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 011921

And a reminder: The stock market is open for Inauguration Day.

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Setting the Political Stage

Biden administration policy could set the market’s tone early on. The Nasdaq Composite also surged Tuesday, rising 1.5% to 13,197 after Yellen also suggested that Biden was looking to change some aspects of Trump’s tax cuts, but not a full repeal.

That’s good news for many corporations, but particularly bullish for tech stocks like these 15 picks, and a large number of funds tied to the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

John Vail, chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management, says to keep an eye on Biden’s executive orders, too.

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“The aggressiveness of (Biden’s EOs) will indicate how much Biden wishes to compromise with Republicans in the Senate on the first stimulus bill,” he says. “It is possible that if the Orders are not radical and the negotiations are without blame-game rancor, he could get enough Republicans to pass about half of his fiscal requests, which would be positive for the markets.”

While value stocks are expected to be a prime beneficiary of stimulus progress, don’t count out growth completely. Yes, the investing style could continue to cool after more than a decade of outperforming value, but the pros still see oodles of potential in a number of rapidly expanding companies.

Here, we look at 11 growth stocks that could shine in 2021, even if the market finally does continue a much anticipated rotation into value.

Kyle Woodley was long BA and Bitcoin as of this writing.



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