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Stock Market Today: Markets End Raucous Week on a Restrained Note

·2 min read

Friday not only provided more clarity on the U.S. presidential election, but also good news on America's employment situation.

Neither development was met with another round of buying by investors, but one can forgive the bulls for being exhausted after a brisk week of gains. (The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for instance, slipped 0.2% to 28,323, but finished the week up 6.8%.)

The Labor Department reported that the U.S. added a stronger-than-expected 638,000 jobs in October, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6.9%.

"The economy continues to display very impressive resilience across multiple sectors and facets, such as housing, auto sales, retail sales broadly, manufacturing, and increasingly services," says Rick Rieder, BlackRock's chief investment officer of Global Fixed Income and head of the BlackRock Global Allocation Investment Team. "Government employment provided more than a quarter-of-a-million jobs drag, while private sector employment gained an impressive 900,000 jobs."

And while presidential election results are still pending from six states, the numbers increasingly point to a Biden victory, fueling more rip-roaring gains in many "Biden stocks." That includes marijuana stocks such as Canopy Growth (CGC, +10.9%) and Tilray (TLRY, +23.2%), which continued their recent ascents Friday.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The S&P 500 slipped by just one point to 3,509.

  • The Nasdaq Composite eked out a four-point gain to 11,895.

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 dropped 0.8% to 1,646.

One Source of Uncertainty Is Fading, But More Remain

Regardless of who ultimately is elected, the economy is hardly out of the woods.

Earlier this week, Sen. Mitch McConnell signaled a sudden willingness to make progress on COVID-related stimulus, which might be needed even more as winter approaches and the pandemic's "second wave" sweeps across much of the country.

Yes, there's plenty of hope that at least one vaccine will be approved in the next few months, which could very well light a spark under these 11 stocks that desperately need some form of normalcy to return. But the vaccine race's timeline is uncertain – both for approval and for rollout to Americans across the country.

For the time being, that means continued opportunity for so-called coronavirus stocks whose businesses benefited from the first wave this spring. Yes, some COVID plays have seemingly maxed out their opportunity. But a number look positioned to take advantage of similar consumer and business behavior this winter, as well as longer-term trends that COVID-19 helped accelerate.

Read on as we take a look at a dozen of the best coronavirus stocks to buy.