S&P 500 reaches record high, Dow jumps after J&J, 3M earnings top estimates

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Stocks rose Tuesday as traders considered the latest batch of corporate earnings results and mulled prospects of another robust stimulus proposal getting passed.

The S&P 500 hit a record intraday high, and the Nasdaq also advanced. The Dow shook off Monday’s declines as shares of Dow components Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and 3M (MMM) jumped after their fourth-quarter results and full-year forecast topped estimates.

Stocks this week have also been closely tracking traders’ assessments of the path forward for more fiscal stimulus, especially as concerns over new variants of the coronavirus and a disorderly vaccine roll-out raise the specter of longer-term virus-related damage to the economy.

President Joe Biden has been pushing to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal through a hesitant Congress but said during a new conference on Monday that he was “open to negotiate” some points of the proposal, including his call for additional direct checks of $1,400 for most Americans.

In terms of timing, however, hopes for a speedy passage of another stimulus package dimmed, after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he aimed to advance the next round of virus relief legislation by mid-March, Bloomberg reported Monday.

“I anticipate the stimulus bill to get passed, but I think it is going to likely take several weeks for that to happen. We have a divided Congress, a $1.9 trillion proposed bill after a $900 billion bill that just went through in December, so I don’t think the $1.9 trillion is likely to even be passed,” Colleen MacPherson, Penobscot Investment Management director of research, told Yahoo Finance. “But I do think that in the stimulus bill, it will be more targeted to individuals. We might not have that $1,400 in direct payments. There likely will be negotiations there. And I don’t think that the federal minimum wage will be [raised] to $15.”

Meanwhile, investors are also closely monitoring this week’s packed schedule of corporate earnings results and economic data. Notable companies including Raytheon Technologies (RTX), General Electric (GE), DR Horton (DHI), Lockheed Martin (LMT), American Express (AXP), and Verizon (VZ), the parent company of Yahoo Finance, each reported results Tuesday morning, and Microsoft (MSFT) and Starbucks (SBUX) are due to report results after market close.

9:35 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher

Here were the main moves in markets shortly after the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +13.28 points (+0.34%) to 3,868.64

  • Dow (^DJI): +149.34 points (+0.48%) to 31,109.34

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +42.28 points (+0.28%) to 13,674.10

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.11 (+0.21%) to $52.88 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$0.60 (-0.03%) to $1,854.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.8 bps to yield 1.047%

9:24 a.m. ET: Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Verizon 4Q earnings and full-year outlooks top estimates

Dow components Johnson & Johnson, 3M and Verizon each posted fourth-quarter results and delivered full-year 2021 guidance that topped consensus estimates, adding to a parade of stronger-than-expected quarterly results so far this reporting season.

  • Johnson & Johnson’s fourth-quarter results were fueled by another jump in pharmaceutical sales, which rose more than 16% year-over-year. Sales of Stelara, Imbruvica and Remicade each topped consensus estimates. J&J’s consumer health segment sales also ticked up over last year as over-the-counter products like Tylenol sold strongly. The company sees full-year adjusted earnings of $9.40 to $9.60 a share, beating Bloomberg-compiled consensus estimates for $8.96, and full-year sales growth of 8.4% to $22.5 billion. The guidance excludes any impact from COVID-19 vaccine sales, but Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told Bloomberg Tuesday morning that J&J will likely adjust its guidance in April to account for their vaccine outlook.

  • 3M grew both sales and profits over last year in the fourth quarter, as sales in each of its safety and industrial, transportation and electronic, healthcare and consumer segments topped estimates. Safety and industrial net sales of $3.1 billion got another boost from demand for personal safety equipment, and consumer revenue grew as home improvement sales offset a decline in office-related sales. The company said in its earnings release that end market demand remained strong in personal safety, home improvement, general cleaning and semiconductors, but remained weak in healthcare and oral care elective procedures, consumer electronics, hospitality, office supplies and healthcare IT.

  • Verizon topped sales and profit expectations but posted weaker-than-expected subscriber growth in several of its key segments. Monthly wireless subscribers of 703,000 were below estimates for more than 1 million, and postpaid phone net customer additions of 279,000 were short of the 525,000 expected. The company expects capital spending this year to total as much as $18.5 billion as it works to build out 5G Ultraband in new and existing markets.

9:11 a.m. ET: Home price growth surges by the most in six years in November

Home prices jumped by the most since 2014 in November, as booming demand for single-family homes during the pandemic encroached further on housing affordability.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index posted a 9.5% annual gain in November, accelerating from 8.4% in October. Consensus economists had been looking for a rise of 8.85%, according to Bloomberg consensus data.

The Case-Shiller 20-City Composite index, which tracks home price trends in 20 of the largest metropolitan areas, posted home price growth of 9.08% in November, outstripping estimates for a gain of 8.7%. This metric grew by an upwardly revised 8.01% in October.

7:30 a.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures tick up

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:20 a.m. ET Tuesday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,850.75, up 2.25 points or 0.06%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 30,925.00, up 57 points or 0.18%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,474.25, down 1.25 points or 0.01%

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.28 (+0.53%) to $53.05 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$0.80 (-0.04%) to $1,854.40 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +0.7 bps to yield 1.047%

6:01 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures open slightly lower

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:01 p.m. ET Monday:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,843.5, down 5 points or 0.13%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 30,842.00, down 26 points or 0.08%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,451.5, down 24 points or 0.18%

New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on January 12, 2021 in New York City. - US stocks on January 11, 2021 retreated from records set last week as political uncertainty, including efforts to remove President Donald Trump from power, has finally shaken investors. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on January 12, 2021 in New York City. – US stocks on January 11, 2021 retreated from records set last week as political uncertainty, including efforts to remove President Donald Trump from power, has finally shaken investors. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

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