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Week in brief: Financial sector leads the way as stock market makes major gains

Financial sector leads the way as stock market makes major gains

Despite the Thanksgiving-shortened week, the stock market continues to make significant moves, with big companies recording long streaks of gains. News about a possible coronavirus vaccine continues to rally the market. An overview of the market shows that the S&P 500 index closed the week at a new high.

An overview of the financial sector shows that most of the listed companies made gains led by digital payment platform PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) at 12.80%. The company recently announced plans to join the cryptocurrency sector. Interesting, this week marked Bitcoin’s highest price in three years at $19,400.

Banking giants JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) closed the week with each share trading at $122.22 to record gains of 5.88%. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) also made substantial gains at 14.09%, with each share trading at $28.46.

E-commerce giant Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) leads with gains of 2.56% under the cyclical consumer category. With each stock trading at $3195.66, Amazon continues to reap from gains resulting from the Black Friday shopping frenzy. Sportswear giant Nike (NYSE: NKE) also recorded gains of 2.97%, with each share trading at $133.43.

1-week performance. The S&P index stocks categorized by sectors and industries. Size represents market cap. Finviz data.

Technology stocks show mixed results

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) made gains of about 1.32% with each stock going for $214.94. The work from home culture and learn-at-home trends during the Covid-19 pandemic continue to boast the stocks. The trends have spurred an increase in PC buying in addition to the cloud software.

The F5 Network (NASDAQ: FFIV) made significant gains of 6%. The networking company has been under pressure from investors after spending $1.65 billion on acquisitions.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) was among the significant losers in the technology sector with a drop of 1.69%. The drop comes even as the company recorded gains in almost all product segments in the recent financial results.

Stocks continue to exhibit immunity to the coronavirus crisis

With semiconductor companies taking center stage with the uptake of 5G technology, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) led the sector’s gains at 4.42%, with each selling at $47.45. Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) was the biggest loser of the week at 2.02%, with each stock closing the week at $143.82. The drop comes in the wake of the company’s general counsel Donald Rosenberg selling his shares worth $1.1 million.

Under communication services, Comcast Corp (NASDAQ: CMCSA) leads the way with gains of 5.41%. The company is still reaping the benefits of increased growth in the cable, as exhibited during the Q3 results. Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has small gains of 1.35%. The stocks continued to exhibit their immunity to the coronavirus crisis.

Interestingly, despite the news of a possible vaccine coming out in the next few months, health care stocks were the biggest losers. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) was among the most significant casualty with a drop of 2.50%, with each stock trading at $144. Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), which might produce the first vaccines, made slight gains of 0.58% over the past week.

Energy sector continues with strong recovery

Despite energy stocks emerging as the biggest loser early this year, the sector has made a massive recovery, with leading companies making tremendous gains. Most jurisdictions have eased movement restrictions meaning that oil is once again in high demand to run economies.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) is the biggest gainer at 9.68%, with each stock trading at $40.19. Conoco Philips (NYSE: COP) was another top gainer at 11.36%. Notably, the sector’s recovery was slowed down back in October due to uncertainty over the future policies of the OPEC+ group, which was planning to additionally taper the oil production cuts from 7.7 million to 5.8 million BPD beginning in January 2021.

An overview of the stock market performance over the last month shows that energy took the lead with gains of 38.28%, followed by Financial at 19.78%. Industrials among the most significant casualties of the pandemic lie in the third spot at 18.65%.

1-month relative performance in percentage (%) by stocks sectors. Finviz data.

Other sectors with key gains include basic materials (15.32%), communication services (12.88%), consumer cynical (11.74%), technology (11.74%), real estate (10.56%), consumer defensive (8.8%), healthcare (7.16%) and utilities (3.8%).

The bullish stock market performance might indicate that the investors are not swayed by the ongoing election legal suits mounted by President Donald Trump.

Experts hold the opinion that a Joe Biden presidency confirmation might act as a major boost for global stock markets. Investors appear to be focused on the possible stability of a Biden presidency that might ease tensions between the US and China.

Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group recently shared his observations on the US post election period with According to Green:

“Even possible legal challenges from Trump will be dismissed by investors who will instead be focusing on the renewed certainty and stability that a Biden White House will bring, including in key areas such as trade tensions with China, keeping the U.S. in the World Health Organization, resigning the Paris climate agreement, and abiding by other international agreements and long-standing international allies.”

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