Wall Street Opens Higher as Yellen Comments Support Risk Appetite; Dow up 33 Pts

imageStock Markets15 hours ago (Feb 19, 2021 14:52)

© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith 

Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened on higher on Friday and were on course to end the week in positive territory, after comments from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and strong earnings from diverse companies offered an antidote to weak labor market data on Thursday.

By 9:45 AM ET (1445 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 33 points, or 0.1% at 31,526 points. The S&P 500 was up 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.4%.

The moves came against a background of ever bolder ‘reflation’ trades, as comments by Yellen to CNBC again encouraged investors to move out of long-dated bonds and into equities. The 30-year Treasury bond yield rose as high as 2.11%, while the 10-year note yield again tested a 12-month high of 1.33%.

Yellen had again stressed the importance of delivering both fiscal and monetary stimulus in large measure, in view of the sustained high level of unemployment and hardship due to the pandemic

“Inflation has been very low for over a decade, and you know it’s a risk, but it’s a risk that the Federal Reserve and others have tools to address,” she told CNBC. “The greater risk is of scarring the people, having this pandemic take a permanent lifelong toll on their lives and livelihoods.”

Palantir (NYSE:PLTR) stock surged another 10%, still enjoying the afterglow of an endorsement from star fund manager Cathie Wood earlier in the week. Wood’s influence is, for now, more than offsetting any downward pressure from the end of the post-IPO lockup for Palantir’s longer-term shareholders, which kicks in today.

Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) also rose 10% after the maker of farm and other heavy machinery said its profit in the first quarter of its fiscal year was more than double analysts’ forecasts and forecast a sharp improvement in its operating environment in the course of the year. Deere stock has now nearly doubled since last July.

Mining stocks were also well supported as the reflation trade translated into a bet on industrial metals. Copper Futures topped $4 a pound for the first time in 10 years, pushing Freeport-McMoran (NYSE:FCX) stock up 8.4%, and Glencore (OTC:GLNCY) and Antofagasta (OTC:ANFGF) ADRs both by more than 3%.

On the downside, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) stock was unable to capitalize on news that its vaccine can be stored in normal freezers without losing efficacy – something that should reduce concerns about the problems of distributing it and broaden its appeal to the world’s healthcare systems, in an increasingly crowded vaccine space.  Novavax  (NASDAQ:NVAX) stock rose 4.6%, by contrast, after snaring a massive supply deal for its Covid-19 vaccine.

Wall Street Opens Higher as Yellen Comments Support Risk Appetite; Dow up 33 Pts

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