Dow hits 30,000 as Trump signals exit from White House
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday surpassed 30,000 points for the first time in the history of the blue-chip index. Stocks pushed higher as Pennsylvania certified President-elect Joe Biden's win in that state and investors cheered the White House's moves to pave the way for President Trump's exit from the Oval Office.
The Dow jumped more than 450 points, or 1.5%, to a record high of 30,046. The broader S&P 500 also pushed into record terrain, climbing nearly 60 points, or 1.6%, to 3,635. The tech-heavy Nasdaq lagged the rest of the market, but the popular index that's home to giants like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Tesla and Google parent Alphabet was still up over 1%.
Strategists at investment house UBS in a note to clients said uncertainty over the contested presidential election had been one of the main factors holding the market back. The removal of that uncertainty, along with news reports that former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen could be picked as Mr. Biden's Treasury Secretary, appeared to have been what boosted the highly watched index to a new high, the UBS note said.
The UBS strategists predicted "the incoming administration to hit the ground running on addressing issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic," and that the transition of power added to investors positive outlook for the stock market.
The gains extend a month-long market rally driven by growing optimism that development of coronavirus vaccines and treatments will loosen the pandemic's stranglehold on the economy. They also mark a rapid climb for the Dow from its March 23 low of just under 18,600 during the worst of its early pandemic nosedive.
Traders are favoring stocks that stand to gain the most from a gradual reopening of the economy, such as banks and industrial companies. Overseas markets also rose. Treasury yields and oil prices were headed higher.
On Monday, the head of the federal General Services Administration acknowledged that Mr. Biden was the apparent winner of this month's presidential election. That allows the incoming president to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on January 20, despite ongoing efforts by President Donald Trump to overturn the election.
Also on Monday, drug maker AstraZeneca reported good results from ongoing vaccine studies. It said its potential vaccine, which is being developed with Oxford University, was up to 90% effective. Unlike rival candidates, AstraZeneca's doesn't have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute to hundreds of millions of people.
Last week, Pfizer and Moderna both reported study results showing their vaccines were almost 95% effective. And, over the weekend, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals received U.S. government approval for emergency use of its COVID-19 treatment. The drug, which Mr. Trump received when he was sickened by COVID-19 last month, is meant to try to prevent hospitalizations in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms.
Trading is expected to be light on Wall Street this week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, when U.S. stock markets will be closed. They will reopen on Friday for a half-day session.
European markets were broadly higher, and Asian markets closed mixed.
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