Markets finish week with record highs

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The future for the Dow industrials gained 0.6%.

Meanwhile, referring to a riant market optimism over a larger pandemic stimulus bill alongside a likely raise of a one-off pay-check to $2,000 from an earlier $600 passed in the US Congress later previous year, a portfolio manager at GolbAlt in Atlanta, Keith Buchanan said, "You're seeing a reflation trade on the assumption that a more progressive and aggressive fiscal stimulus package could be in the offing". A strong US economy is needed to help drive a global recovery from the worst downturn in decades. President-elect Joe Biden accused Trump of fomenting violence and said Wednesday was one of the darkest days in USA history.

The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo gained 1.6% to 27,490.13.

Among individual stocks, 3M shares dropped 2.3% after a downgrade by Bank of America that cited risks related to environmental regulation as Democrats take control of the Senate. India's Sensex rose 0.3% and shares in most other markets were higher. South Korea's Kospi index jumped almost 4% to a record high.

The Wall Street street sign is framed by a giant American flag hanging on the New York Stock Exchange. The companies are heavyweights in the Hang Seng.

Stocks of smaller companies fell.

But investors took heart as President-elect Joe Biden pledged a wide-ranging fiscal package to support the coronavirus-ravaged USA economy. "China relationship", Lun said.

The S&P 500 closed above 3,800 points for the first time on Thursday, while the Dow and the Nasdaq posted their fourth straight weekly gains. That's up from 1.05% late Thursday and 0.90% early this week. The Russell 2000 picked up 38.96 points, or 1.9%, to 2,096.89. The economy is always like a toddler on a bicycle with training wheels (ahem, stimulus).

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A pro-Trump mob gathers inside the Senate chamber in the U.S. Capitol after groups stormed the building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Earlier, Trump riled up the crowd with baseless claims of election fraud.

Investors are largely looking past the current political ugliness - and the pandemic's acceleration around the world - and are focusing instead on prospects for an improving economy.

Economy-linked financials jumped 2.1%, while industrial and materials sectors hovered near record highs on expectations President-elect Joe Biden would line up a bigger fiscal package and boost infrastructure spending. Payroll processor ADP said private employers cut 123,000 more jobs last month than they added, the weakest such report since April.

Investors will get a key piece of economic data on Friday morning when the U.S. Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report for December. Treasury yields continued to rise, reflecting expectations that higher government spending will drive up inflation.

Anticipation of more stimulus for the economy, increased US government borrowing and perhaps inflation across the country have been pushing Treasury yields to levels not seen since early in the pandemic.

Democratic control of Washington could also lead to higher tax rates for businesses, which would crimp profits and add downward pressure on stocks broadly. His vote will of course be needed in the Senate (assuming all 50 Republicans vote against any Democrat bill) if the Democrats are to pass fiscal stimulus legislation in the Senate.

The February crude oil contract was up US$1.41 to US$52.24 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was down 2.9 cents U.S. at US$2.70 per mmBTU. To lift the S&P500, the tech and consumer discretionary sectors rose 2.7% and 1.8%, respectively.

Brent crude gained 44 cents to $54.74 per barrel. Miners joined a selloff in gold and silver as the dollar rose. The euro weakened to $1.2314 from $1.2326.

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