Stocks rose, adding to Thursday’s record levels after a closely watched report on the labor market missed expectations, possibly making a case for additional fiscal stimulus.
Each of the three major equity indexes traded higher ahead. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended at record closing highs on Thursday, and the Dow closed within 0.5% of its own recent all-time closing high. Friday’s January jobs report showed that the U.S. economy returned to adding back more jobs than it lost at the start of this year, but at a slower than expected rate.
The areas of outperformance in the markets this week fit “into three of the potential rotation trades that we’re closely monitoring for 2021,” Kevin Mahn, Hennion & Walsh chief investment officer, told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. “The first being smaller cap stocks starting to outperform larger cap stocks, given the excessive valuation that large cap stocks are currently trading at … emerging stocks outperforming U.S. stocks, and then that potential rotation from growth-oriented stocks value oriented stocks.”
Over the past five days, the financials sector has been the best performing sector in the S&P 500, coinciding with firming Treasury yields. Energy has also outperformed as crude oil prices recovered, given prospects for stronger demand for travel and fuel later this year. The Russell 2000 has also outperformed the S&P 500 this week and so far in 2021, with small cap stocks typically leading the way higher during economic recoveries.
But while some large-cap and growth stocks may seem lofty based on some traditional measures, they may also grow into these valuations given the strong earnings results posted so far for the fourth quarter, some strategists said. The majority of S&P 500 companies that have reported fourth-quarter results thus far have beaten expectations, and many by a wide margin.
“Fourth quarter earnings are really impressive thus far … one way to improve that P/E ratio [is] prices going down, or earnings go up,” Mahn added. “If we continue to see earnings growth, that could also create some more attractive investment opportunities.”
Shares of consumer tech companies that reported earnings results after market close on Thursday traded mixed in the pre-market session.
Snap (SNAP) shares dropped 6% after the company’s disappointing first-quarter guidance overshadowed strong fourth-quarter results, which reflected faster-than-expected sales and user growth and the company’s first-ever full-year adjusted EBITDA profit. Peloton (PTON) shares slid after the company said increased delivery costs would crimp margins, drawing attention away from its first-ever quarter bringing in over $1 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, Pinterest (PINS) shares surged more than 10% to a record high overnight after the company reported a major fourth-quarter top- and bottom-line beat, with revenue jumping more than 76%.
10:12 a.m. ET: GameStop shares surge 50%, trigger trading halt after Robinhood lifts trading restrictions
Shares of GameStop (GME) surged 50% intraday on Friday after Robinhood, the online trading platform popular with retail investors, lifted trading restrictions on the stock. Still, the shares remained well below their all-time high of $483.00 from Jan. 28 at the height of the retail investor-fueled boom in the stock.
GameStop shares were briefly halted due to volatility between 10:07 and 10:12 a.m. ET.
Last week, Robinhood and some other online brokerages had placed restrictions on trading of GameStop and other highly volatile stocks that had been popularized on the Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets. The company eased these restrictions over the next several days to allow purchases of a greater number of shares of each of these stocks.
As of Friday morning, there were no trading limits on any equity securities available for trading on Robinhood, according to a company statement.
9:52 a.m. ET: U.S. trade deficit hits highest level since 2008 in 2020
The U.S. trade deficit widened to the most in 12 years last year, as the pandemic weighed heavily on international trade and imports recovered losses faster than exports.
The trade deficit increased by 17.7% to $678.7 billion last year, with exports of goods and services sliding by nearly 16%. Imports fell by a total of 9.5%.
In December, the trade balance narrowed to $66.6 billion from $68.1 billion in November. However, this was still wider than the $65.7 billion consensus economists had been expecting for the end of last year.
9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher, Dow gains more than 150 points
Here’s where markets were trading shortly after the opening bell:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +16.89 points (+0.44%) to 3,888.63
Dow (^DJI): +176.23 (+0.57%) to 31,232.09
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +38.42 (+0.28%) to 13,817.02
Crude (CL=F): +$0.85 (+1.51%) to $57.08 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$8.10 (+0.45%) to $1,799.30 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.1 bps to yield 1.15%
8:45 a.m. ET: January payroll gains disappoint
The U.S. economy resumed adding back more jobs than it lost in January, as easing stay-in-place restrictions and fiscal stimulus measures out of Washington alleviated some of the pressure on the labor market. However, the number of jobs regained fell short of expectations.
Non-farm payrolls grew by 49,000 in January, coming in at fewer than half the 105,000 expected.
Plus, the depth of the job losses in December were revised to be greater than previously reported. The economy shed 227,000 jobs in December, versus the 140,000 previously reported.
While the unemployment rate improved to 6.3% from 6.7%, the drop coincided with a decline in the labor force participation rate.
7:15 a.m. ET Friday: Futures extend gains ahead of January jobs report
Here’s where markets were trading ahead of the opening bell Friday morning:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,882.75, up 18.25 points or 0.47%
Dow futures (YM=F): 31,091.00, up 141 points or 0.46%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,591.75, up 44.25 points or 0.33%
Crude (CL=F): +$0.49 (+0.87%) to $56.72 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$10.20 (+0.57%) to $1,801.40 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.2 bps to yield 1.16%
6:03 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures open higher
Here’s where markets were trading Thursday evening as overnight trading kicked off:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,864.75, up 0.25 points or 0.01%
Dow futures (YM=F): 30,955.00, up 5 points or 0.02%
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,555.5, up 8 points or 0.06%
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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