Dow Nears Record High as Biden Sworn in as U.S. President By

By Yasin Ebrahim – The Dow flirted with record highs Wednesday, underpinned by Netflix-led rally in tech and ongoing optimism for further stimulus, as Joe Biden was inaugurated president of the United States.

The rose 0.86%, or 264 points to $31, 196.61, just below its intraday all time high of 31,223.78. The was up 1.45%, while the gained 1.97%. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit intraday all-time highs.

A slew of companies reported mostly better-than-expected quarterly results, boosting investor sentiment on stocks as the earnings season gathers momentum.

Among the notable reports for banks, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) reported fourth-quarter results that topped analysts’ expectations. Its share were largely unchanged on the day.

Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:) slumped 7%, dragging the broader financials sector into the red, despite reporting better-than-expected results on the top and bottom lines for the fourth quarter.

Netflix (NASDAQ:), meanwhile, rallied more than 14% after it topped results and said it expected to be cash flow neutral this year and in subsequent years.

The positive upbeat guidance on free cash prompted bullish remarks from Wall Street analysts, though some questioned how much of the subscriber growth was pulled forward.

“[Netflix management] guide for 6 million 1Q21 net adds suggests a soft start … it remains unclear whether streaming growth will be subdued as the world (hopefully) emerges from COVID-19 later this year as dining out / travel / return-to-work habits and spending normalize,” Credit Suisse (SIX:) said as it lifted its price target on the stock to $586 from $525.

The jump in tech comes just a week before Apple (NASDAQ:) and Facebook (NASDAQ:) kick off earnings for big tech.

Alibaba ADRs (NYSE:) jumped 6% after founder Jack Ma made his first public appearance in three months following Chinese regulatory clampdown on his tech businesses.

Sentiment on stocks was also boosted by ongoing optimism for further stimulus as Biden, who was as the 46th U.S. president earlier on Wednesday, reiterated the importance of providing further fiscal relief to aid the economic recovery.

In other news, DraftKings (NASDAQ:) climbed more than 3% after Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating on the stock to overweight from equal weight on expectations for quarterly revenue to top estimates.

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