*Buy and Sell signals are not recommendations and are a starting point for further analysis.
U.S stock indexes this morning are mixed with the Nasdaq 100 at a new record high. A rally in technology stocks today is supportive for the overall market and helped pushed the Nasdaq 100 to a new all-time high. However, concerns about tighter and longer Covid lockdowns pushed airline stocks lower and weighed on the S&P 50 and Dow Jones Industrials stock indexes.
Apple is up +3.5% today at a new record high and Tesla is up +4.0% at an all-time high to lead gains in technology stocks. Apple is gaining today after Raymond James issued an "outperform" rating on Apple and raised its price target on the stock to $150 from $140, citing optimism about Apple's earnings results that will be released Wednesday after the close. Tesla is climbing today after Wedbush said that strong Chinese demand would drive Tesla's annual electric vehicle deliveries above 1 million by 2022.
Weakness in airline stocks today is weighing on the overall market and is pressuring the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials. United Airlines is down more than -3% and Delta Airlines is down more than -2% today after the Biden administration said it will continue to restrict travel to the U.S. from the UK, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe, and will extend a travel ban to South Africa in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid.
Today's U.S. economic data was mixed for stocks. On the bullish side, the Dec Chicago Fed national activity index unexpectedly rose +0.21 to 0.52, stronger than expectations for a decline to 0.10. Conversely, the Jan Dallas Fed manufacturing activity unexpectedly fell -2.7 to a 6-month low of 7.0, weaker than expectations for an increase to 12.0.
Negative carry-over from a slide in European stocks today also weighed on U.S. stock indexes. The Euro Stoxx 50 is down -0.81% today at a new 2-week low as Covid lockdown concerns weigh on European equities. France's Health Minister said France is set to go back into lockdown "within days" amid concerns that a new wave of infections driven by the more-contagious UK variant of Covid could spiral out of control. Also, UK Prime Minister Johnson said the UK will not loosen its Covid restrictions before mid-February.
A bearish factor for stocks is the worsening Covid pandemic, which is forcing countries to tighten lockdowns that undercut economic growth and corporate profits. Globally, Covid infections have risen above 99.855 million, and deaths have exceeded 2.140 million.
The VIX S&P 500 Volatility Index ($VIX) this morning is up +2.82 to 24.73, recovering further from last Thursday's 3-week low of 21.09. The VIX is down sharply from last March's 12-1/4 year high of 85.47 but is holding above the late-November 10-1/2 month low of 19.51.