Georgia Race in Spotlight; Oil Prices Spike

Stocks rebounded on the second day of trading in 2021, with all three major U.S. indices finishing the day higher. It followed what proved to be a down day for markets on Monday, as anxiety over a fast-spreading new virus strain lingered over markets.

The big question on both Capitol Hill and Wall Street for the last several weeks, over whether the U.S. Senate will turn blue or remain in GOP control, remained an open question late Tuesday. Poll numbers have both incumbent GOP senators in tight races with Democratic challengers, and it’s possible obtaining accurate results will be a prolonged process.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 167 points, or 0.55%, to finish at 30,391.

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Oil prices jump. An agreement between the so-called OPEC+ nations that will keep the cartel’s production largely stable in February sent crude oil prices about 5% higher on Tuesday, as Saudi Arabia’s surprise vow to cut production by 1 million barrels per day turned energy traders bullish.

Energy has been one of the worst-performing sectors in the market over the last year, as the pandemic sparked global lockdowns, business shutterings and travel declines that sapped worldwide energy demand.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil advanced to $50 a barrel for the first time since last February on the news of Saudi Arabia’s production cuts.

Jack Ma merely MIA, not DOA. One of 2021’s earliest and most bizarre business stories has been the mysterious absence of Alibaba (ticker: BABA) founder Jack Ma from the public eye.

The conveniently timed retreat of Ma from public life, which began just after he critiqued Chinese regulators in October, started gaining international attention when Ma was a no-show for an annual event he attends in early January.

According to CNBC, however, Ma is alive and well, and is merely laying low. Given China’s track record of disappearing dissidents — and Tuesday’s sentencing of a former asset-management company chairman to death for corruption — it’s not outlandish for media outlets to wonder about the well-being of the billionaire entrepreneur.

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