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Dow rises in excess of 200 points, hits record high as Wall Street kicks off last week of 2020

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 207 points, or maybe 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 days after Trump suggested he will veto the legislation, demanding $2,000 immediate 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, founder of The Sevens Report.

The 5 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 medium and longer term perspective for stocks will be good, Essaye added.

Apple led the Dow higher, rising 2.5 %. Tech and supplies had been the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, gaining 0.9 % along with 0.8 %, respectively.

Wall Street is actually coming off a peaceful holiday week in which the key averages had been flat. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 % last week as some investors got 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 last week of the season, that has so far seen amazingly strong returns. The S&P 500 has gotten 15.4 % year to date, even though the Dow has climbed 6.4 %. The Nasdaq has soared 43.2 % this season as investors favored high-growth technology labels during the continued Covid 19 pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday that the country might 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. have been vaccinated.

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