S&P ends higher as Alphabet jumps

The S&P 500 barely managed to log a third straight session of gains Wednesday as the major indexes closed nearly flat. The gain came amid improving economic data and progress on a fiscal stimulus package.

Private payrolls rebounded sharply in January and services activity raced to its highest level in nearly two years. In Washington, President Joe Biden met with congressional Democrats preparing to push his $1.9 trillion relief plan.

Clear Harbor Asset Management CEO Aaron Kennon:

“One key component to this rally is at some point, I think it was late this morning, we did see that the Senate agreed on this reconciliation process which essentially allows for the Democrats with their votes and with the vice president to pass Biden administration’s fiscal stimulus package which is probably going to be in and around $1.9 trillion. We think that’s a net positive for the equity market.”

The Dow and S&P tacked on a tenth percent. The Nasdaq ended a tad below the breakeven line.

GameStop rose a modest 2.7%. The frantic swings in the videogame retailer’s stock price subsided Wednesday as it rebounded some from Tuesday’ 60% plunge. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet with top officials this week to discuss the market volatility driven by retail trading in GameStop, silver and other heavily shorted stocks.

Shares of Alphabet jumped 7%. The advertising and Cloud business of Google’s parent profited as people worked and studied online from home.

But shares of Spotify fell 8%. The streaming music company expressed uncertainty over how much longer it would benefit from the health crisis that kept people at home and boosted the number of subscribers.