Dow Gains as Energy Rally Powers Bulls; Georgians Cast Votes

© Reuters © Reuters

By Yasin Ebrahim – The Dow rose Monday led by energy on surging oil prices, but gains were kept in check by political uncertainty as investors awaited the results from Georgia election run-offs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.47%, or 141 points. The S&P 500 was up 0.45%, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.62%.

Energy stocks supported the broader market as oil prices jumped above $50 for the first time since February on reports that Saudi Arabia is willing to make voluntary cuts to offset a rise in output from Russia and Kazakhstan.

OPEC+ reportedly agreed to raise production by 75,000 barrels a day in February and another 75,000 in March, with Russian and Kazakh Production.

Gains were kept in check as investors awaited results from the Georgian runoff elections that holds the key to control of the Senate. Voting will close at 7pm EST on Tuesday.

"Market sentiment toward potential outcomes is mixed, with a Democratic victory likely resulting in more fiscal stimulus in the short-term, but higher taxation and regulation in the long-term," D.A. Davidson said in a note.

Still, analysts continue to bet the rally will continue as the political ramifications from a potential Democratic sweep will likely fade over the long-term as earnings grow.

"In 2021, we forecast widespread COVID vaccinations, U.S. GDP growth of 5.9%, continued low interest rates, and above-consensus S&P 500 EPS of $175 that will be 6% higher than the pre-pandemic profits in 2019," Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said.

Industrials, meanwhile, were led higher by a 4% rebound in Boeing (NYSE:BA) following a slump a day earlier as orders for aircraft maker's much-maligned 737 Max resumed.

Boeing delivered a 737 Max jet to United Airlines Holdings (NASDAQ:UAL) on Dec. 8. United previously said it would bring the 737 MAX aircraft, which was grounded for nearly 20 months after two fatal crashes, back into schedule in February.

The overall sentiment on the aviation sector, however, appears timid on fears of further restrictions as the new coronavirus variant that sent the UK into lockdown has been detected across four different states so far.

In tech, chip stocks were in focus, up 1%, following a surge in Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) after Citi turned bullish on the company.

Citi upgraded its rating on Micron to buy from sell and price target on the stock to $100 from $35, citing favorable backdrop for memory demand and supply over the next year.

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) rose 2% after the chipmaker said its president Cristiano Amon would replace Steve Mollenkopf as chief executive.

On the economic front, manufacturing activity rose to a more than 2-year high, as the ongoing pandemic continues to have a limited impact on growth.

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