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Financials

US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq scale highs as Netflix jumps, Biden inaugurated

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* FAANGs jump after Netflix results beat estimates

* Dow up 0.68%, S&P 500 up 1.36%, Nasdaq up 1.97% (Adds comments; updates prices; adds New York dateline; changes byline)

Jan 20 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit highs on Wednesday as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th U.S. president, while solid results from Netflix sparked a rally in shares of stay-at-home winners.

Shares of the world’s largest streaming service Netflix surged 18.08% and added nearly $40 billion to its market capitalization after it said it would no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its TV shows and movies.

The rest of the FAANG group, due to report results in the coming weeks, jumped with Google parent Alphabet Inc rising 5.59%. The NYSE FANG+TM index gained 5.06%.

“What’s interesting about Netflix is that they didn’t crash, when the economy crumbled. There was this thought that perhaps COVID would actually be bad for them because people would not want to spend money, but it was the total opposite. Everybody signed up for these streaming services,” said Sylvia Jablonski, chief investment officer at Defiance ETFs in New York.

Biden will waste little time turning the page on the Trump era, aides said, signing a raft of 15 executive actions in the afternoon on issues ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the economy to climate change.

“The market reacted to the election a while back and it did so in a way that was positive to the nomination of President Biden,” Jablonski said.

“Americans are ready for the next chapter and taking some of that readiness and investing back into the market.”

The Dow has gained about 57% and the S&P 500 advanced about 68% since Donald Trump assumed office on Jan. 20, 2017, which compares with a 65% jump in the Dow and 75% gain in the S&P during the first term of the Obama administration.

Wall Street’s main indexes scaled record highs in the past few months, with the blue-chip Dow jumping about 13% since the presidential elections in November, as investors bet on a strong economic recovery in 2021 on the back of COVID-19 vaccine rollout and a bigger pandemic relief plan.

Nearly all of the 11 major S&P sectors advanced in afternoon trading, with communication services, real estate and technology among the biggest gainers.

Wrapping up results from major U.S. lenders, Morgan Stanley slipped 0.61% despite posting quarterly profit that blew past estimates driven by strength in its trading business.

The broader banks index shed about 1.60%, declining for the third day.

With stock market valuations sitting near a 20-year high, investors are hoping corporate results and profit outlooks will help them determine to what degree the valuations are justified.

By 2:26 p.m. ET (1926 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.64 points, or 0.68%, to 31,142.16, the S&P 500 gained 51.63 points, or 1.36%, to 3,850.54 and the Nasdaq Composite added 259.48 points, or 1.97%, to 13,456.66.

Procter & Gamble Co raised its full-year sales forecast for a second time as it benefited from sustained coronavirus-driven demand for cleaning products. Its shares, however, fell 1.31% after it warned that the pace of sales might slow as vaccines roll out.

UnitedHealth Group Inc dipped 0.69% after the health insurer’s quarterly profit slumped nearly 38%, weighed down by costs related to its programs to make COVID-19 testing and treatment more accessible for its customers.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.79-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.10-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 53 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 321 new highs and four new lows. (Reporting by Echo Wang; Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Maju Samuel and Lisa Shumaker)

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