US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq scale record highs as Netflix soars; Biden takes office

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq scale record highs as Netflix soars; Biden takes office
Credit: © Reuters.

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* FAANGs jump after Netflix results beat estimates

* Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) gains as profit races past estimates

* Indexes up: Dow 0.63%, S&P 1.13%, Nasdaq 1.73% (Adds comment, details; updates prices)

By Devik Jain and Medha Singh

Jan 20 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit all-time highs on Wednesday as Joe Biden became the 46th U.S. president, while solid results from Netflix sparked a rally in shares of stay-at-home winners.

Shares of the world's largest streaming service NFLX.O surged 14% to add more than $30 billion to its market capitalization after it said it would no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its TV shows and movies. rest of the FAANG group, due to report results in the coming weeks, jumped with Facebook Inc FB.O , Inc AMZN.O , Apple AAPL.O and Google-parent Alphabet Inc GOOGL.O rising between 2% and 5%.

The NYSE FANG+TM index .NYFANG gained 3.8%.

"People are back to looking at technology as a part of the market that can do well whether COVID stays a problem or is eventually pushed to the side," said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in New Vernon, New Jersey.

Biden will waste little time turning the page on the Trump era, aides said, signing a raft of 15 executive actions in the afternoon on issues ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the economy to climate change. Dow has gained about 57% since Donald Trump assumed office on Jan. 20, 2017, which compares with a 72% jump in the first term of the Obama administration.

Optimism about a COVID-19 vaccine as well as bets on a bigger pandemic relief plan under a Democrat-controlled Congress have helped Wall Street's main indexes scale record highs in the past few months, with the blue-chip Dow jumping about 17% since the presidential elections in November.

Eight of the 11 S&P sectors advanced in afternoon trading, with technology .SPLRCT , communication services .SPLRCL and consumer discretionary .SPLRCD among the biggest gainers.

Wrapping up results from major U.S. lenders, Morgan Stanley MS.N edged higher after its quarterly profit blew past estimates driven by strength in its trading business. broader banks index .SPXBK , however, shed about 1.6%, declining for the third day.

With stock market valuations sitting close to a 20-year high, investors are hoping corporate results and profit outlooks will help them determine to what degree the valuations are justified. 11:54 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 195.20 points, or 0.63%, to 31,125.72, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 43.10 points, or 1.13%, to 3,842.01 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC gained 227.78 points, or 1.73%, to 13,424.96.

Procter & Gamble Co PG.N raised its full-year sales forecast for a second time as it benefited from sustained coronavirus-driven demand for cleaning products. Its shares, however, slipped about 1.4% after it warned that the pace of sales might slow as vaccines roll out. Group Inc UNH.N slid 0.3% after the health insurer's quarterly profit slumped nearly 38%, weighed down by costs related to its programs to make COVID-19 testing and treatment more accessible for its customers. issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.8-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.1-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 51 new 52-week highs and no new low while the Nasdaq recorded 456 new highs and 10 new lows.

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