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Dow futures rose Wednesday ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden as the nation's 46th president. The 30-stock average on Tuesday broke a three-session losing streak, with a 116-point gain that brought it just over 0.5% away from its record closing high.
The flood of earnings continues before Wall Street's open, with Dow stocks UnitedHealth and Procter & Gamble on the docket along with Morgan Stanley. United Airlines is set to report quarterly results Wednesday afternoon.
- UnitedHealth said its profit was impacted by a recovery in demand for health-care services and a rise in costs related to its programs to make Covid testing and treatment more accessible for customers. Shares dropped about 2%
- P&G raised its 2021 outlook after its fiscal second-quarter revenue rose 8%. Shares jumped more than 2%.
- Morgan Stanley on Wednesday beat estimates with quarterly earnings and revenue on better-than-expected Wall Street and wealth management results. Shares gained more than 2%.
Shares of Netflix surged 13% in the premarket a day after the streaming giant said that its fourth-quarter results showed it surpassed 200 million paid subscribers for the first time — three years after passing 100 million. Netflix said it is "very close" to being free-cash-flow positive and is considering stock buybacks. The company beat estimates with Q4 revenue, though it fell short on per-share profit.
Biden takes the oath of office at noon ET, taking the helm of a deeply divided nation and inheriting a confluence of crises. Biden's inauguration unfolds devoid of crowds due to the pandemic and heightened security at the Capitol, where supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump laid siege to the seat of the U.S. legislative branch of government exactly two weeks earlier.
Following the ceremony, Biden plans to sign more than a dozen executive orders to address a litany of challenges. The first will require Covid masks and physical distancing in all federal buildings, on all federal lands and by federal employees and contractors. Many of Biden's orders will reverse those issued by Trump, including the so-called Muslim travel ban and the construction of a southern border wall.
Shortly after Biden's inauguration, Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff will be sworn in as U.S. senators from Georgia, giving their party control of the upper chamber of Congress in a 50-50 split with soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
One day before stepping aside as Senate majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell on Tuesday explicitly blamed Trump for the Capitol attack, saying the mob was "fed lies" and the outgoing president and others "provoked" those intent on overturning Biden's election. Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate for inciting insurrection will unfold after he leaves office.
Trump issued 73 pardons on his last night in the White House, including one for his 2016 campaign chief and former White House senior advisor, Steve Bannon, who was accused of defrauding donors. Trump also pardoned Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer sentenced to prison for stealing trade secrets relating to driverless cars from the search giant.
Eschewing tradition, Trump won't be attending Biden's inauguration. He departed Washington in the morning enroute to Florida. Before boarding Air Force One for the last time, he touted what he sees as his accomplishments. But he also referred to the pandemic in the past tense, calling it "the China virus," as he's been known to do. Trump on Tuesday night released a farewell address video, touting his record on the economy and foreign policy, while glossing over the Capitol riot and refusing to mention Biden by name.
As Biden takes over, the U.S. fight against Covid is going to shift to a more centralized, federal government-led approach. Promising 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days of his administration, Biden plans to use FEMA and the National Guard to build coronavirus vaccine clinics across the United States. The current pace of U.S. vaccinations is going much slower than officials had hoped as the nation's virus deaths on Tuesday topped 400,000 — a quarter of which happened in the last month.