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Stock Market News for Feb 22, 2021

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U.S. stock markets closed mixed on Friday as investors continued to monitor the passage of more fiscal relief. Nonetheless, a positive set of economic data provided some boost to the investors’ sentiment. The Dow and the Nasdaq Composite managed to eke out gains while the S&P 500 closed the day in red.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.98 points, closing at 31,494.32, falling from record intraday highs, reversing its losses from Thursday. Notably, 18 components of the 30-stock index ended in red while 12 finished the day in green. Major gainer of the Dow was Caterpillar Inc. (CAT - Free Report) that gained 5%. Notably, Caterpillar has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed the day at 13,874.46, up 0.1%, snapping its three-day losing streak, on the back of strong performance by large-cap technology stocks. The S&P 500 lost 0.2%, closing the day at 3,906.71, continuing four successive days of losses. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) and the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) declined 1.5% and 1.3%, respectively. Notably, six out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in the negative zone and five in the green.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down nearly 2% to 22.05. A total of 13.47 billion shares were traded on Friday. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.87-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 2.14-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.

Markets Continue to Await Further Fiscal Aid

Wall Street ended mixed on Friday as investors continued to monitor the passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package. Notably, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, in an interview on Thursday evening, also stressed on the need for more stimulus to provide relief to the people. Moreover, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also stated on Thursday that the House of Representatives aim to pass the $1.9 trillion bill by the end of February.

Positive Economic Data

The IHS Markit’s flash reading of composite PMI for services and manufacturing rose to 58.8 in February compared to 58.7 in January. Notably, this marked the strongest reading since 2015.

The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales rose 0.6% in January from December, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.69 million units, surpassing the consensus estimate of 6.62 million units.

Weekly Roundup

U.S. stock markets closed mostly lower during the holiday-shortened week, pausing the rally to record highs, as the Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 lost 1.6% and 0.7%, respectively, registering their first weekly losses this month. However, the Dow managed to gain 0.1%, marking three successive weeks of gains. Investors remained watchful of more fiscal stimulus while concerns mounted over expectations of rising interest rates as well as higher inflation.

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