James Hyerczyk
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US Stock Indexes

The major U.S. stock indexes slipped from their record highs on Tuesday in choppy, two-sided price action, as investors expressed concerns over the path of reopening the economy and whether the Senate would approve additional pandemic aid checks.

Wall Street’s three main indexes opened at new highs for a second straight session after President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion fiscal stimulus bill that restored jobless benefits and averted a federal government shutdown.

In the cash market on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3727.04, down 8.32 or -0.25%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 30335.67, down 68.30 or -0.25% and the tech-based NASDAQ Composite Index closed at 12850.22.

Unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus measures, along with positive vaccine developments have helped the S&P 500 bounce back from a virus-fueled crash in March.

The benchmark index is up more than 10% for the quarter as investors have flocked to economically-sensitive stocks from the so-called ‘stay-at-home’ plays on hopes of a recovery.

Washington Politics

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber would address this week President Donald Trump’s call for an increase in stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000, after blocking an immediate consideration of the measure on Tuesday. Final passage of the proposal would require 60 votes and the backing of a dozen Republicans.

McConnell’s comment comes a day after Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the move to bump up direct payments.

If the Republicans decide to stop playing follow-the-leader then we could see a surge to the upside especially given the thin volume.


Are the Bulls Hedging Their Bets With Short Russell 2000 Positions?

Some analysts are suggesting a sharp drop in small cap stocks could be a reflection of the concern surrounding the surge in infections leading to a slower than hoped for reopening. The Russell 200 Small Cap Index was off 2.23%, on pace for its biggest daily percentage drop in two months.

Stocks in the News

Intel Corp jumped 4.28% after Reuters reported activist hedge fund Third Point LLC is pushing the chipmaker to explore strategic options, including whether it should remain an integrated device manufacturer.

Boeing shares gave up earlier gains and slipped 0.21% as its 737 MAX plane resumed passenger flights in the United States for the first time after a 20-month safety ban was lifted last month.

Snapchat owner Snap Inc climbed 5.02% after Goldman Sachs raised its price target on the stock on upbeat revenue growth prospects.

The Internals

Volumes are expected to be light in the holiday-shortened week, which could lead to volatility.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.09-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 3.17-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 21 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 76 new highs and 25 new lows.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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