The S&P 500 turned slightly positive on Wednesday after opening lower, as traders paused after Tuesday’s rally. Energy shares led gains as crude oil rebounded from a day earlier.
The index eked out another record closing high, while the Nasdaq ended slightly lower. Salesforce.com (CRM) lagged in the Dow, though the index closed marginally higher by the end of Wednesday’s session. The software stock fell nearly 9% after the company announced it would be purchasing workplace messaging software company Slack (WORK) in its largest-ever deal valued at $27.7 billion, confirming a week’s worth of media reports over the tie-up. The announcement coincided with Salesforce’s third-quarter earnings results, which topped estimates, though its fourth-quarter profit guidance disappointed.
Despite Wednesday’s pause, investors have largely kept cheering upbeat developments around the approval and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, with both Pfizer and Moderna having filed for emergency use authorization for the vaccines with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Vice President Mike Pence told governors on Tuesday that some doses of the vaccine could start being distributed as early as the middle of this month, according to CBS News. Many health experts expect widespread distribution of the vaccines will take place mid-next year.
In the meantime, Americans continue to contend with the coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout it has produced. Still, congressional lawmakers and administration officials appear far from reaching a consensus over the size and scope of an additional fiscal stimulus package that could held cushion the economic blow from the virus. A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers unveiled a $908 billion stimulus proposal on Tuesday, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has favored a smaller relief bill, rejected the proposal, according to CNBC.
Equity investors, however, have so far mostly looked through the ongoing tug-of-war for more stimulus out of Washington.
“Without any sort of fiscal stimulus over the coming months, I think the economic slowdown, the quote-unquote double dip recession or pullback as some have called it, becomes more likely,” Ross Mayfield, Baird investment strategy analyst, told Yahoo Finance on Tuesday. “But we’ve seen all year that the stock market can look past some economic damage on the ground if the outlook is bright in the future, and that’s what the vaccine has provided.”
“I do think that any kind of positioning in stocks has to be made knowing the stock market will look out past April, May when the vaccine is fully available,” he added.
4:03 p.m. ET: S&P 500 ekes out record closing high as energy stocks jump
Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:03 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +6.56 (+0.18%) to 3,669.01
Dow (^DJI): +61.12 (+0.20%) to 29,885.04
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -5.74 (-0.05%) to 12,349.37
Crude (CL=F): +$0.58 (+1.30%) to $45.13 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$13.40 (+0.74%) to $1,832.30 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.4 bps to yield 0.9480%
12:35 p.m. ET: Cuomo says first delivery of Pfizer vaccine will likely be available to New Yorkers in two weeks
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a Twitter post Wednesday that enough doses of Pfizer’s vaccine will first be available for 170,000 residents starting in two weeks, assuming all safety approvals are given to the inoculation. Pfizer filed for emergency use authorization of its vaccine candidate with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in mid-November, after showing its vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.
New York’s first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine will be enough for 170,000 New Yorkers.
We expect, if all safety & efficacy approvals are granted, to receive these doses on December 15.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 2, 2020
11:57 a.m. ET: S&P 500, Dow turn slightly positive as energy stocks recover losses
The S&P 500 and Dow rose slightly Wednesday just before noon, shaking off earlier losses as energy stocks outperformed. Shares of Dow-component Chevron jumped more than 4%, and peer oil major Exxon Mobil rose nearly 5%.
U.S. crude oil prices rose by more than 2% intraday Wednesday after falling a day earlier, after OPEC and its allies delayed a formal meeting over whether or not to increase output starting next year. The virtual talks are expected to be held Thursday, or two days later than originally planned.
OPEC+ had considered extending an existing supply cut totaling around 8% of worldwide demand into the beginning of 2021 given the lack of energy demand spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. However, optimism over a vaccine and the broad-based economic reopening it may offer has recently helped boost risk assets including oil, meaning producers may elect not to continue output cuts during the economic recovery.
9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks fall, retreating from record levels
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:31 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): -10.32 points (-0.28%) to 3,652.13
Dow (^DJI): -155.11 points (-0.52%) to 29,668.81
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -87.2 points (-0.71%) to 12,266.17
Crude (CL=F): -$0.08 (-0.18%) to $44.47 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$2.30 (+0.13%) to $1,821.20 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): unchanged, yielding 0.934%
8:15 a.m. ET: Private payroll growth decelerates, misses expectations: ADP
U.S. private sector employers added back fewer jobs than expected in November, with the coronavirus pandemic still exerting pressure on the labor market even as optimism over a vaccine and broader economic reopening come into view.
Private payrolls increased by 307,000 in November, according to ADP’s monthly jobs report, following an upwardly revised gain of 404,000 in October. This marked the seventh straight month of net payrolls gains after the coronavirus pandemic spurred historic job losses in March and April.
Consensus economists had been looking for private payrolls to rise by 430,000 in November, according to Bloomberg data.
7:18 a.m. ET Wednesday: Stocks point to a lower open
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:18 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,653.25, down 7.25 points or 0.2%
Dow futures (YM=F): 29,690.00, down 114 points or 0.38%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,433.25, down 19 points or 0.19%
Crude (CL=F): -$0.18 (-0.40%) to $44.37 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$7.10 (+0.39%) to $1,826.00 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.6 bps to yield 0.918%
6:02 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures open mixed
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:02 p.m. ET Tuesday evening:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,662.75, up 2.25 points or 0.06%
Dow futures (YM=F): 29,771.00, down 33 points or 0.11%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 12,466.75, up 14.5 points or 0.12%