The Nasdaq Composite narrowly missed a record high Wednesday as investors digested another batch of big tech earnings and weighed the possibility Democrats could forge ahead with their COVID-19 relief package sans Republican support.
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The tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 0.02%, surrendering the bulk of its gains during the final hour of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, meanwhile, climbed 0.11% and 0.1%, respectively. All three of the major averages closed within striking distance of their record peaks with the Dow and S&P rising for a third straight session.
Amazon Inc. announced CEO Jeff Bezos will in the third quarter step aside in favor of an executive chairman role. He will be replaced by Andy Jassy, the current head of the company’s cloud-computing business. The e-commerce giant on Tuesday evening reported record annual revenue that was fueled by an online shopping boom amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, reported a second straight record for quarterly revenue as its advertising and cloud units drove sales. The two businesses accounted for 88% of the company’s total revenue. The stock rose to a record $2,058.88 per share.
In coronavirus stimulus news, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid plan gained traction on Tuesday after Democrats said they would move ahead with a budget resolution that would allow them to draft parts of a reconciliation bill that could be approved without Republican support.
A measure typically needs a 60-vote majority to pass, but the reconciliation process, which can be used once per year and only needs a simple majority to pass, would allow Democrats to ram the bill through the Democratic-controlled House with a tie-breaking vote being cast by Vice President Kamala Harris in the 50-50 Senate so long as all Democrats approve.
However, moderate Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told Fox News on Tuesday evening that Republicans would have their voices heard, but did not say whether he would block the reconciliation attempt.
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Elsewhere, GameStop Corp. shares spiked after the company named Amazon Web Services engineer Matt Francis as chief technology officer. Other recent highly volatile stocks like movie chain AMC Entertainment Holdings and headphone manufacturer Koss Corp also gained.
Meanwhile, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. named CEO Richard Adkerson as chairman of the board and reinstated its dividend that was suspended in April due to the pandemic. The company’s quarterly payout will be 30 cents per share, up from 20 cents before the outbreak.
In commodities, the volatility in silver continued with the precious metal up 49.4 cents, or 1.87%, to $26.878 per ounce. Elsewhere, gold rose $1.70 to $1,832.20 per ounce and West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 93 cents to $55.69 per barrel.
Overseas markets traded mixed.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX 30 advanced 0.71%, France’s CAC 40 was flat and Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.14%.
Asian markets also ended split with China’s Shanghai Composite index falling 0.46%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index adding 0.2% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbing 1%.