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Dow rises greater than 200 points, hits record very high as Wall Street kicks off last week of 2020

 Stocks traded higher on Monday in advance of the very last trading week of 2020 and as President Donald Trump unexpectedly signed an economic comfort bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 207 points, or perhaps 0.7 %. The S&P 500 climbed 0.7 %, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6 %. All 3 major indexes hit record highs at the open.

President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill into law, averting a government shutdown and extending unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. The signing came many days after Trump suggested he will veto the legislation, demanding $2,000 direct payments to Americans, instead of $600.

All the bluster neither drastically changed to outlook for stocks, as markets still expected (and ultimately received) stimulus of a minimum of $900 billion to pass, wrote Tom Essaye, founding father of The Sevens Report.

The five pillars of the rally (Federal stimulus, FOMC stimulus, vaccine rollout, divided government and no double dip recession) re main mainly in place, and until that changes, the moderate and longer term view for stocks will be good, Essaye added.

Apple led the Dow higher, rising 2.5 %. Tech and materials were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, gaining 0.9 % and 0.8 %, respectively.

Wall Street is actually coming off a quiet holiday week wherein the key averages were level. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 % last week as several investors took the chips off to the year end. The 30-stock Dow eked out a 0.1 % gain for the same period.

Profit-taking could ramp up in the very last week of the year, that has thus far seen surprisingly strong returns. The S&P 500 has gained 15.4 % year to date, while the Dow has climbed 6.4 %. The Nasdaq has soared 43.2 % this year as investors favored high-growth technology labels while in the continued Covid 19 pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday that the nation can see a surge in new Covid-19 infections following Christmas along with New Year’s celebrations. Two vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer have begun the distribution process this month. So far over one million folks in the U.S. are vaccinated.

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