Dow hits another record ahead of final trading day of 2020

Oil inventories see sharp drop

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed to record highs Wednesday after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said direct payments to Americans would begin immediately and as U.K. regulators approved a second COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

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TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES30937.04-22.96-0.07%
SP500S&P 5003849.62-5.74-0.15%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX13626.064934-9.93-0.07%

The Dow gained 73 points, or 0.24% helped by gains in Disney and Caterpillar shares. The maker of earth moving equipment was named a “top 2021 idea” at Baird, which raised its price target to $220 from $206.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DISWALT DISNEY COMPANY169.50-2.52-1.46%
CATCATERPILLAR INC.187.270.000.00%

While the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.13% and 0.15%, respectively. Both ended just shy of their own record peaks.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
XLEENERGY SELECT SECTOR SPDR ETF40.74-0.90-2.15%
USOUNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P.35.45-0.14-0.39%

A bigger than expected drop in oil inventories, over 6 million barrels, giving crude prices a boost along with energy stocks, which were the top performers within the S&P 500's large sectors.

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On the COVID-19 relief front, Mnuchin said the $600 direct payments to most Americans as part of the $900 billion COVID-19 aid package would be delivered via direct deposit beginning on Tuesday and that checks would be arriving in the mail as early as this week.

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Looking at stocks, the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine received emergency use authorization from the U.K.’s health regulator, making it the second vaccination to garner approval from the agency. The vaccine, which has faced questions over discrepancies in clinical trial results, will begin being distributed on Monday.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AZNASTRAZENECA PLC54.44+0.43+0.80%
REGNREGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS INC.544.10-4.10-0.75%

Elsewhere, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said a trial found its therapy drug effective and that the study would continue.

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Meanwhile, Walmart getting attention for what appeared to be a rogue tweet calling Sen. Hawley a #soreloser for saying he'll oppose certifying electoral college votes for President-elect Joe Biden. It was taken down swiftly.

"The tweet was mistakenly posted by a member of our social media team who intended to publish this comment to their personal account," a spokesperson for Walmart told FOX Business.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
WMTWALMART INC.147.52+1.31+0.90%

In tech news, Intel Corp. shares were in focus for a second day after activist investor Dan Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point called on the chipmaker to split its chip manufacturing operations from its chip design and development business.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
INTCINTEL CORPORATION55.21-0.23-0.41%
AMDADVANCED MICRO DEVICES INC.94.71+0.58+0.62%

Fox Corp., the parent company of FOX Business and Fox News, averaged 1.9 million viewers per day and 3.6 million viewers in prime time, both records, according to Nielsen data released Tuesday. It was the fifth straight year that Fox beat out all other news and basic cable channels.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
FOXAFOX CORP.34.93+2.84+8.85%

In another analyst call, Clothing and accessories designer Tapestry Inc. received a price target increase to $35 from $27 at Guggenheim.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TPRTAPESTRY INC.32.80-0.97-2.87%

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose $3.06 cents to $48.40 per barrel and gold was up $10.50 cents at $1,891 per ounce.

In economic news, manufacturing in the Midwest showed continued improvement rising to 59.5 in December, according to the Chicago PMI. A reading over 50 signals expansion.

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European markets were little changed with the Euro STOXX 50 down 0.33%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rallied 2.18% and China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 1.05%. Japan’s Nikkei lagged, falling 0.45%.