Key market indexes were poised to close out 2020 near record highs, despite a quiet final trading session from the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The Dow Jones industrials and S&P 500 were flat, while the Nasdaq edged 0.2% lower in the stock market today. Small caps tracked by the Russell 2000 were also off 0.2%. Volume was lower on both major exchanges vs. the same time Wednesday.
Early Thursday, the Labor Department said first-time jobless claims dipped to 787,000 last week. That’s a decline for a second straight week. It’s also below economist forecasts for 830,000 and the prior week’s 806,000 claims.
Meantime, the prospect of $2,000 stimulus checks remained in limbo. The House of Representatives on Monday approved an increase from $600, but that’s now stuck in the Senate.
Tech stocks have boosted the Nasdaq to a 43% gain this year, while the S&P 500 is up nearly 16% through Wednesday’s close. The Dow is up 7%, and the Russell 2000 has advanced 17%. Read The Big Picture for detailed daily market analysis.
The market has stayed in new high ground after some volatility. 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.
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
Last Update: 1:26 PM ET 12/31/2020
Meantime, Covid-19 cases continue to rise globally. Worldwide cumulative coronavirus cases have topped 83.4 million, with more than 1.8 million deaths, according to Worldometer. In the U.S., confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic have surpassed 20.2 million, with a death toll over 351,000.
Dow Winners And Losers
Intel (INTC) and Goldman Sachs (GS), up over 1% each, were the biggest Dow winners. Intel remains nearly 30% below its 52-week high, while Goldman Sachs is on track for a new closing high. Goldman shares are about 17% extended from a 225.34 buy point cleared in November.
Chevron (CVX) and Boeing (BA), down more than 1% apiece, were the Dow’s biggest losers. Chevron, about 30% off its 52-week high, is testing support at its 50-day moving average. Boeing has rebounded 139% from its March lows, but is still 39% below its 52-week highs.
Apple (AAPL) dipped 0.8%. It’s close to a 138.08 buy point of a cup base, according to MarketSmith chart analysis. The base is third stage, which increases the risk of failure. Shares are now extended from aggressive early entries at 125.49 and 122.09. Apple is an IBD Leaderboard stock.
Automakers, data storage and ship transport stocks led the upside among IBD’s 197 industry groups. But dairy products makers, retail and medical stocks lagged.
EV Stocks On The Move
In the automaker group, Tesla (TSLA) rose 3% to a new high in fast turnover. Taiwan-based Masterlink Securities began covering the electric vehicle giant with a buy rating and 750 price target. Shares are well extended from a 466 buy point of a cup with handle cleared in November, according to MarketSmith chart analysis.
Tesla stock, which joined the S&P 500 on Dec. 21, is on track for a nearly 750% gain this year. It’s an IBD Leaderboard stock.
Among the China EV stocks, Xpeng (XPEV) cruised 4% higher, while Nio (NIO) and Li Auto (LI) advanced about 1.5% each.
Nio, which is slated to host a Battery Day event on Jan. 9, is poised for a full-year gain of 1,100%. Bank of America raised its price target on Nio stock to 59 from 54.7 in a recent note to clients, citing its “unique battery swap technology and also advanced autonomous driving development.”
Over in the IBD 50, Futu Holdings (FUTU) soared 8% in heavy volume to extend a recent bounce off its 50-day line. But the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) eased 0.4% as Lam Research (LRCX), Etsy (ETSY) and Big Lots (BIG) weighed.
Follow Nancy Gondo on Twitter at @IBD_NGondo
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