Dow, S&P, Nasdaq rise over 1% each, GameStop falls 60%

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U.S. equity markets rallied Tuesday as bipartisan COVID-19 relief talks appeared to be making headway on Capitol Hill.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 476 points, or 1.58%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.39% and 1.56%, respectively.

GameStop Corp. shares fell for the second session as bulls and bears continue to do battle in the highly volatile stock. Shares plunged 60% to their largest one-day percentage drop ever. Other recent high flyers, including AMC Entertainment Group, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. and BlackBerry Ltd. were also under pressure.

In Washington, President Biden met with 10 Republican Senators on Monday afternoon to discuss their approximately $618 billion COVID-19 aid package that would extend a third round of stimulus checks to some Americans, grant an additional $300 a week in supplemental unemployment benefits through June and provide $50 billion for small businesses. He is lunching with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen today who was also meeting with the Democratic caucus.

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Looking at corporate and earnings news, United Parcel Services Inc. said adjusted quarterly profit rose 27% year over year as the e-commerce boom fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a surge in home-delivery demand. The company also received a boost from its role in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

Pfizer Inc. forecast $15 billion in sales from the COVID-19 vaccine it is producing along with BioNTech and raised its full-year outlook. Prior quarter sales from the vaccine were one-third of what was expected.

U.S. pharmacies including CVS, Costco, Walmart, Walgreens and others are expected to start receiving COVID-10 vaccines next week.

In deal news, Uber is buying alcohol delivery app Drizly for $1.1 billion.

Exxon Mobil Corp. announced an additional $3 billion of expense reductions and reported its first annual loss in 40 years as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sharp drop in demand for oil and gas. The oil giant also created a “Low Carbon Emissions” unit that will help reduce greenhouse gases by up to 20% by 2025.  The oil giant reportedly held talks with rival Chevron during the height of the pandemic last year, as reported by the WSJ.

Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson Inc. unveiled its five-year turnaround plan called “The Hardwire” as shipments to dealers plunged 32% from a year ago to their lowest level since 1997. Annual retail sales, meanwhile, sank 17% to the weakest since 1998.

Elsewhere, Tesla Inc. announced it would recall 134,951 Model S and Model X vehicles after a U.S. regulator warned their touchscreen displays could fail.

Tech giants Alphabet Inc. and Amazon Inc. will report their quarterly results after the closing bell.

In commodities, silver plunged $3.014, or 10%, to $23.38 an ounce a day after posting their largest gain in almost 12 years. Elsewhere in the space, gold fell $30.30 to $1,830.50 an ounce and West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped $1.21 to $54.76 a barrel.

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Overseas markets were higher across the board with France’s CAC 40 leading the advance in Europe, trading up 1.86%, while Germany’s DAX 30 and Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 1.56% and 0.78%, respectively.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.23%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rallied 0.97% and China’s Shanghai Composite index added 0.81%.

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