S&P, Nasdaq hit records as tech leads rally

General Motors missed its sixth record-high close this month

U.S. equity markets ended mixed on Thursday after President Biden signed a series of executive orders in the first hours of his presidency.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 12 points, or 0.04% while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher by 0.03% and 0.55%, respectively. Both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq finished in record territory.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SP500S&P 5003811.15-18.19-0.47%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX13192.345407+72.91+0.56%

Biden signed 10 executive orders on Thursday to help slow the spread of COVID-19. That followed a flurry of demands issued on Wednesday which included extending a freeze on student loan payments and the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums for those impacted by COVID-19. Other measures including canceling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, re-entering the Paris climate agreement and stopping construction of the southern border wall, among other things.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %

Looking at stocks, United Airlines Holdings reported a fourth straight quarterly loss in the three months through December as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to snarl demand for air travel. The Chicago-based airline lost $7.1 billion in 2020 but said that while the next few quarters will be difficult, it foresees a return of travel and cost-cutting resulting in its 2019 profit margins being exceeded by 2023.

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Baker Hughes Co. missed on revenue but beat on earnings and said it expects the energy market to bottom by the middle of this year.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AAPLAPPLE, INC.121.26+0.27+0.22%

Elsewhere, the price target on Apple Inc. shares was raised to $152 from $144 at Morgan Stanley, which is anticipating record quarterly earnings and revenue from its upcoming report.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA, INC.675.50-6.72-0.98%

Tesla Inc. vehicle registrations in the state of California spiked 63% year over year in the fourth quarter, according to data from the research firm Cross-Sell. The increase in registrations was bolstered by demand for the Model Y crossover vehicle.


TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GMGENERAL MOTORS CO.51.12+0.43+0.85%

In other auto news, General Motors missed its sixth record-high close this month. Optimism has been building around the company following a flurry of strategic moves.

In commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude fell 18 cents to $53.13 per barrel and gold slid 60 cents to $1,865.30 an ounce.

European markets were lower after the European Central Bank kept policy on hold with France’s CAC 40 falling 0.67% and Germany’s DAX 30 losing 0.11%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.37%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.12% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.82% and China’s Shanghai index gained 1.07%.