Stocks surge to record, eclipsing pre-coronavirus peak

Barron’s Top Three: Stock splits, retail investing revival and COVID-19 treatments

Guest host Jack Hough breaks down the three most important things investors should be thinking about with Barron’s markets editor Ben Levisohn, Barron’s reporter Carleton English and Barron’s senior writer Al Root.

Stocks hit all-time highs Tuesday morning as strong housing data and better-than-expected retail earnings propelled both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite to record peaks.

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The S&P 500 climbed 0.37% in the opening minutes of trading, eclipsing its intraday high of 3,393.52. The benchmark index needs to finish above 3,386.15 to close in record territory.

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite was higher by 0.63%, touching its own record high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 20 points, or 0.07%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SP500 S&P 500 3384.48 +2.49 +0.07%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 11151.241542 +21.52 +0.19%
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 27739.15 -105.76 -0.38%

Looking at the economy, housing starts rose 23% to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.496 million, beating the 1.24 million that was anticipated by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. Building permits, meanwhile, climbed 19% to 1.495 million, ahead of the 1.32 million that was expected.

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The results sent shares of homebuilders, like Toll Brothers Inc., Pulte Group and Lennar Corp. higher.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TOL TOLL BROTHERS 43.08 +0.93 +2.19%
PHM PULTE CORPORATION 46.98 +0.55 +1.19%
LEN LENNAR 78.00 +0.93 +1.21%

On the earnings front, Dow component Home Depot Inc. reported better-than-expected top and bottom lines as U.S. comparable sales rose 25% from a year ago.

Fellow Dow member Walmart Inc. said online sales rose 97% versus last year, helping drive a 79% jump in profit.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
HD THE HOME DEPOT INC. 286.13 -2.10 -0.73%
WMT WALMART INC. 134.96 -0.64 -0.47%
BJ BJS WHSL CLUB HLDGS INC 43.28 +0.52 +1.20%
BABA ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LTD 259.13 +2.17 +0.84%

BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. and Alibaba Group are among the companies reporting ahead of Wednesday’s opening bell.

Meanwhile, Boeing job cuts will extend beyond its initial plan to eliminate 10% of its workforce. The company is offering workers, mostly in its commercial airplanes unit, services division and corporate operation, a second voluntary layoff opportunity.

Oracle is in talks to acquire the U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand assets of the social-media app TikTok from Chinese owner ByteDance, according to CNBC, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA BOEING COMPANY 171.78 -0.23 -0.13%
ORCL ORACLE CORPORATION 56.28 +2.29 +4.25%
TSLA TESLA INC. 1,866.22 +30.58 +1.67%

Elsewhere, Tesla shares continued to zoom higher, and were trading above $1,900 apiece for the first time.

Looking at commodities, gold climbed $21.50 to $2,020.20 an ounce while West Texas Intermediate crude oil slid 72 cents to $42.16 a barrel.

U.S. Treasurys were little changed with the yield on the 10-year note holding near 0.68%.

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In Europe, Germany’s DAX was trading up 0.34% while France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE fell 0.07% and 0.34%, respectively.

Asian markets finished mixed with China’s Shanghai Composite adding 0.36%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edging up 0.08% and Japan’s Nikkei slipping 0.2%.

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