Wall Street was in a bullish mood on Tuesday afternoon, and investors in the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) were pleased to see the index rise toward new all-time heights once again. As of 2 p.m. EST, the Nasdaq was up almost 1%, bringing it to within 30 points of its closing record from a week ago.
Action from niche areas like software-as-a-service platform providers, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, and fuel cell companies has dominated the rise in the Nasdaq in 2020, and many of those stocks performed well again today. But standing out from the crowd as well on Tuesday were two big-name stocks that still have huge potential: Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL).
Baidu charges itself up
Baidu hasn't been on many investors' radar screens recently, as the Chinese search engine giant went through a long period of relative stagnation in its stock price. But Baidu has made a quick ascent in the past few months, and Tuesday's gain of 10% brought its three-month rise to nearly 50%.
Initially, Baidu's rise came as a result of value-seeking investors believing that the company could reinvigorate itself and recover its lost ground. Yet today's gains come in the wake of reports saying that Baidu is looking at manufacturing its own EVs, joining a red-hot industry at an opportune time and gaining the attention of many investors who would ordinarily not have paid it a second thought.
Baidu likely wouldn't try to start EV production from scratch. Instead, it'd probably look to work with existing auto manufacturers, with an eye toward sharing technology in order to bring new EVs to market.
For those who think this is a brand-new idea for Baidu, think again. It has worked on autonomous driving for several years and has partnerships with big automakers that include Ford and Toyota. It also runs a taxi service that uses autonomous vehicles with safety drivers aboard.
Some may think that this is a gimmick for Baidu to jump into a hyped-up EV market. But if these reports lead to something bigger, investors might find that Baidu's further along than they expect.
Apple looks for an iPhone boost
Meanwhile, shares of tech giant Apple climbed 4%. The move further cemented Apple's market cap above $2 trillion and came on several pieces of favorable news.
First, reports surfaced that Apple is expecting to produce as many as 96 million iPhones during the first half of 2021. That figure would be nearly 30% higher than during the corresponding period in 2020, pointing to the success of the 5G-enabled iPhone 12 series and renewed enthusiasm about the mobile-device maker's staying power and innovation in the industry.
In addition, stock analysts at J.P. Morgan had good things to say about the tech giant. They believe that Apple could rise another 20% in 2021, which would be especially impressive in light of the huge gains that Apple stock has produced both in 2020 and over the past several years.
As 5G upgrades accelerate, more people will want to have access to the latest wireless technology. Increasingly, that will mean upgrading to new iPhone 12s, and investors are hopeful that high demand could push Apple shares to all-time highs along with the Nasdaq as a whole.