The Dow Jones Industrial Average Slipped, but Who Cares? Look at Airbnb!

Talk about leaving money on the table.

The major stock market indexes moved little on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 69.55 points, or 0.2%, to 29,999.26, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 3668.10, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.5% to 12,405.81. It was a day barely worth getting out of bed for, at least if you were an index investor. But the action wasn’t in the indexes—it was in Airbnb, energy stocks, and industrial metals, among others.

The indexes really had no reason to go anywhere. Jobless claims data were atrocious—835,000 Americans lost their jobs during the week ended Dec. 5, the most since September—a stimulus deal still hasn’t been done, and Covid-19 continues to rampage across the country. If anything, the market should have finished much lower instead of nearly flat. Still, stimulus could happen, so no one seems too worried yet.

But as I said, the real action was elsewhere. Airbnb went public and you knew it was going to be wild when Wolfe Research analyst Jared Shojaian initiated the stock at Outperform with a $135 price target. Airbnb more than doubled its IPO pricing of $68 to $144.71. “The Nasdaq is once again outperforming its peers as back-to-back successful IPOs from DoorDash (NYSE listed) and Airbnb (Nasdaq listed) continue to drive interest into a flurry of companies that aim to be the next FAANG stocks,” writes Oanda’s Edward Moya.

But you didn’t need to be in a speculative IPO to have some fun. The small-cap Russell 2000 rose 1%. Industrial metals climbed, with copper up 1.8% to $3.5705 today, its highest since February 20, 2013. WTI crude oil futures rose 2.8% to $46.78, their highest close since March 4, boosted by a weak U.S. dollar—the U.S. Dollar Index fell 0.4% to 90.76—and strong oil demand data from China. That helped the S&P 500 Energy Sector gain 2.9% on the day. The Energy Sector is now up 36% since the end of September, putting it on pace for its best quarter since at least 1989.

“The Energy Patch is not exactly a AIRBNB type runaway train today, but it is on the move, but in my opinion, getting close to bubble territory,” writes Mizuho’s Robert Yawger. “The energy patch will have a lot to prove to hold onto this week’s gains.”

Does any of it make sense? Probably not. “Small caps, tech, energy and metals…With 10yr yields lower…cats and dogs living together,” writes Evercore ISI’s Dennis DeBusschere. “Just lost…need some events to clear and maybe we will have a better feel for things.”

That just about sums it up.

Write to Ben Levisohn at Ben.Levisohn@barrons.com