Market Update – 2/15/2021

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Thomas Ghita, Business Editor

U.S. stocks have closed at record highs for the week of Feb. 8 to Feb. 12, with a bullish market sentiment continuing due to increasing expectations of stimulus spending and COVID-19 vaccines.

The S&P 500 finished the week at $3,934, rising 1.2% for the week and finishing at a record close for 2021. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at $31,458, rising 1% for the week and also finishing at a record close. The Nasdaq Composite posted the highest gains, finishing the week at a record-high $14,095 after rising 1.7% for the week.

President Joe Biden announced the finalization of a deal to purchase 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna. The president has commented that the U.S. is still months away from making the vaccines available to everyone, but has given the end of July as a possible date to reach that goal, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Federal Reserve’s current monetary policy has also helped support the markets with low-interest rates and the purchasing of numerous assets.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has voiced his support for the current policies, saying that the Fed is unlikely to “even think about withdrawing policy support” and that the current policies are “the essential tool for this situation.” This, combined with the coming $1.9 trillion planned stimulus package, has turned investors optimistic, although as of now there is no clear sign of when the lockdown will end.

Moving away from the overall markets, shares of Bumble Inc., an online dating company that made its trading debut on Feb. 11, rose to $ 75.46, crushing its initial public offering priced at $43 a share, according to CNBC.

Bumble’s founder, Whitney Wolfe Heard, has said that Bumble plans to use most of the proceeds to pay down the company’s debt and initiate a share buy-back program from its pre-IPO stakeholders, with the current largest pre-IPO stakeholder being private-equity firm Blackstone Group, according to Bloomberg.

Bumble follows in the footsteps of other high profile IPOs that have debuted this year, with DoorDash Inc. and Airbnb Inc. also smashing estimates when debuting. This vast increase is a continuation of a trend that the IPO market was on in 2020 and is now carrying into this year, with IPOs having raised over $175 billion in 2020, according to data from Dealogic, a 150% percent increase from 2019.

Looking forward, the focus still needs to be on the coming stimulus bill, as it could result in U.S. stocks ballooning even further. Roblox Corporation is also another high-profile direct listing to be looking at in the near future, although its debut has been delayed to March.