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Dow rises more 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 suddenly signed an economic comfort bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 207 points, or 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 direct payments to Americans, rather than $600.

All the bluster neither drastically changed to outlook for stocks, as markets still expected (and eventually 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 largely in place, and until that changes, longer-term outlook and the medium for stocks will be good, Essaye included.

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

Wall Street is coming off a quiet holiday week where the major averages had been level. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 % last week as some investors took the chips off into the year end. The 30 stock Dow eked out a 0.1 % gain for the very same period.

Profit-taking might ramp up in the very last week of the season, that has so far seen astonishingly good returns. The S&P 500 has gotten 15.4 % year to date, although the Dow has climbed 6.4 %. The Nasdaq has soared 43.2 % this year as investors favored high growth technology names while in the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday that the nation may see a surge in new Covid 19 infections following Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. 2 vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer have started the distribution process this month. So far over one million men and women in the U.S. have been vaccinated.

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