Nasdaq gains on tech stocks, stimulus hopes

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 eked out modest gains Thursday as investors bet on more fiscal stimulus. But comments by President Joe Biden that China could – in his words – “eat our lunch” weighed on investor sentiment.

At a meeting in which he told senators he would work to modernize U.S. infrastructure, he said the U.S. must raise its game to compete with China.

Tech stocks Microsoft, Nvidia and Intel led the rally that drove the Nasdaq up four-tenths percent and the S&P two-tenth percent. The Dow closed flat.

National Securities chief market strategist Art Hogan:

“This has been the week of the pause, which is OK because last week was the week of the rebound rally.”

The price of bitcoin rose to an all-time high after digital currencies gained more institutional support. Credit card company Mastercard said it plans to offer support for some cryptocurrencies on its network this year, while Bank of New York Mellon, America’s oldest bank, formed a new unit to help clients hold, transfer and issue digital assets.

Pot stocks got slammed, reversing Wednesday’s outsized gains. Tilray dropped by half, and Aphria sank 36%.

After the markets closed, shares of Disney rose. The entertainment giant’s quarterly revenue dropped less than expected. Its fast-growing video streaming business helped offset some of the damage the health crisis has dealt on its theme park and movie studio businesses.