Stocks jump to new records at the open; Tesla weighed by Musk pledge

Stocks on Monday extended a record-setting streak of gains on Wall Street, opening at new highs as traders looked ahead to a slew of new inflation data and earnings results in the coming days.

At the opening bell, the Dow, S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq all notched fresh highs, carried by last week’s momentum when all three major indexes jumped to their best levels ever. Optimism over a batch of strong corporate profit reports, a better-than-anticipated October jobs report and a Federal Reserve decision that matched investors’ expectations are providing impetus to risk-sensitive assets. 

Meanwhile, Bitcoin prices led a broad crypto rally, with the leading digital coin jumping within view of a record high. However, Tesla (TSLA) dropped by more than 6% on the day, after CEO Elon Musk confounded investors by vowing to sell 10% of his holdings based on the outcome of a Twitter poll, which kept a lid on tech stocks.

This week, companies including Disney (DIS), PayPal (PYPL) and Coinbase (COIN) are set to deliver quarterly earnings results, with traders hoping that these and other companies’ results will extend a streak of solid earnings growth heading into the holiday season. So far, 89% of S&P 500 companies have reported third-quarter results, and 81% of these exceeded Wall Street’s estimates for earnings per share, according to FactSet data. The expected year-on-year earnings growth rate has crept higher to 39.1%, which would mark the third-fastest pace for earnings growth in the index since 2010. 

On the economic data front, inflation reports will be especially closely monitored. Wednesday’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to show another acceleration in consumer prices on both a monthly and annual basis for last month, as ongoing supply chain challenges and labor shortages across the recovering economy contribute to rising prices. Estimates as of Monday showed that consensus economists expect to see the CPI rise by 5.9% in October compared to last year, accelerating from September’s 5.4% annual rate to reach the fastest rise since 1990. 

“We continue to expect that a normalization of demand and supply constraints over time will take pressure off inflation statistics,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief economist for High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note on Monday. “The exact timing is uncertain, given we cannot predict when supply chains will adjust.”

“However, our best guess is that prices will start moderating by the middle of next year — possibly sooner if goods that are stuck off ports reach their destinations in the early part of the year, which will result in an excess supply of goods after the holiday,” she added.  

Though the Federal Reserve has suggested that elevated inflation related to supply constraints will ultimately subside, market participants are still awaiting signs of easing. Data from Oxford Economics showed last week that supply chain pressures worsened in October after easing somewhat in September, and the number of cargo ships waiting to unload at key ports in California reached an all-time high. 

And the inflation report will come following last week’s average hourly wage data in the Labor Department’s October jobs report, which showed that average earnings jumped by a marked 4.9% in October over last year. These rising labor and compensation costs, as well as a slew of other supply-related challenges, have also been cited by a host of companies in their latest earnings results.

“The so-called Great Resignation, with baby boom generation retirees and others reassessing their connection to the labor force, is tightening up the labor market faster than the economic models predicted and this means demand pressures and shortages will persist and that inflation will gain a permanent foothold if Federal Reserve policy makers are not careful,” Chris Rupkey, chief economist for FWDBonds, wrote in a note on Friday. 

“They took a baby step this week in starting to taper, but they are still adding money to the economy through their asset purchases through next June, and they cannot start putting the brakes on this economy until they actually lift interest rates,” he added. 

4:05 p.m. ET: S&P 500 ekes out 8th straight day of gains; Dow adds 104 points, or 0.3% to reach record

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:05 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +4.17 (+0.09%) to 4,701.70

  • Dow (^DJI): +104.27 (+0.29%) to 36,432.22

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +10.77 (+0.07%) to 15,982.36

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.01 (+1.24%) to $82.28 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$9.20 (+0.51%) to $1,826.00 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +4.4 bps to yield 1.4970%

12:01 p.m. ET: Ford shares exceed $20 per share for the first time in two decades

Ford (F) crossed the $20 per-share threshold for the first time since mid-2001, with optimism over the company’s renewed focus on electric vehicles and a pick-up in demand for autos more broadly during the recovery helping fuel the stock. 

Shares have risen more than 120% for the year-to-date, far exceeding the S&P 500’s about 25% rise over that period. 

Earlier Monday, Bloomberg reported that Ford was set to begin selling green bonds used to help advance clean energy projects and battery-electric vehicle development. And earlier this fall, Ford pledged to spend $11.4 billion to help build out a suite of electric zero-emission vehicles over the next several years. 

11:10 a.m. ET: Tesla shares cut losses after Musk asks Twitter whether he should sell 10% of stake

Tesla (TSLA) shares pared steep losses on Monday as investors digested the latest Twitter commentary from CEO Elon Musk, who over the weekend asked his over 62 million followers whether he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla in a Twitter poll. At its lows of the session, the stock was down more than 7%. 

The majority of of 3.5 million respondents on the poll said they supported such a sale, which would be worth about $21 billion based on the nearly 171 million Tesla shares that Musk currently holds. 

Despite the poll, a number of analysts suggested that a share sale by Musk was likely already on the way anyway, given the executive has a tax bill worth billions set for the coming months ahead of the expiration of 23 million of his stock options in August of next year. 

“With a tax bill that we calculate at north of $10 billion, selling stock over the coming months is not a surprise, although holding a Twitter poll to sell 10% of his stock is another bizarre soap opera that can only happen to one company and one CEO in the world, Musk,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note on Monday. “We would rather Musk rip the band-aid off now and sell this portion of stock rather than it lingering over the next year and feeding into any non-fundamental bear thesis on the story.”

11:07 a.m. ET: Alphabet sets record high, reaching $2 trillion market cap

Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) rallied Monday morning, bringing the tech juggernaut’s market capitalization above the $2 trillion mark. Shares briefly topped $3,000 apiece. 

The stock has risen for five straight sessions, with traders continuing the cheer the company’s better-than-expected quarterly results as the company pointed to a pick-up in digital advertising spending and growth in Google Cloud. Alphabet, which has benefited from a return of travel advertisers, has also outperformed the other Big Tech stocks including Apple, Amazon, Meta and Netflix so far this year. Shares have jumped more than 71% so far in 2021. 

9:30 a.m ET: Stocks set new records at the open

Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:30 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 4,712.81,+15.28 (+0.33%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 36,547.88, +219.93 (+0.61%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 16,007.14, +35.55 (+0.22%)

  • Crude (CL=F): $81.71 per barrel, +$0.44(+0.54%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,827.10, +$10.30 (+0.57%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +11 bps to yield 1.4600%

7:30 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures trade mixed

Here’s where markets were trading Monday morning:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +3.5 points (+0.07%), to 4,693.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +74 points (+0.2%), to 36,289.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): -1.5 points (-0.01%) to 16,350.25

  • Crude (CL=F): $82.36 per barrel, +$1.09 (+1.34%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,817.20 per ounce, +$0.40 (+0.02%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2.8 bps to yield 1.481%

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., October 20, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

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