US stocks kick off a fresh week on a high note on promising trial results from Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed a major milestone on Tuesday, closing above 30,000 for the first time ever after United States President Donald Trump gave the green light to the formal transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
The 30-share index vaulted out of the gate at the opening bell and kept on rallying to finish the session up more than 454 points or 1.54 percent at 30,046.24.
The broader S&P 500 index – a proxy for the health of US retirement and college savings accounts – finished up 1.62 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended the trading day 1.31 percent higher.
Shortly after the Dow crossed the 30,000 point threshold around noon on Wall Street, Trump marked the occasion with a spur-of-the-moment White House press conference.
“We’ve never broken 30,000. And that’s despite everything that’s taken place with the [coronavirus] pandemic,” Trump told reporters.
Describing 30,000 as “a sacred number” Trump went on to list other heights the stock market has hit on his watch.
“Nobody thought they’d ever see it. That’s the ninth time since the beginning of 2020 and it’s the 48th time that we’ve broken records during the Trump administration,” he said.
Tuesday’s record-setting moment was set in motion earlier this month by positive news in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine. The prospect of a pandemic game-changer triggered a powerful rotation that saw investors snap up shares in companies beaten down by the virus, such as airlines, cruise operators, hotels and financial firms.
On Monday, investor sentiment was given a further boost after Trump said that the head of the General Services Administration could go ahead with a transition to Biden’s administration – turning a page on a fraught political moment in the nation’s history.
Trump confirmed his approval of the transition with a tweet in which he also pledged to “keep up the good fight”.
Meanwhile, Biden’s incoming cabinet is taking shape.
The president-elect is reportedly tapping former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary – a crucial role always, but especially now given the fragile state of the nation’s economic recovery.
…fight, and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
With new COVID-9 infections and hospitalisations breaking records in the US, state and local governments are urging caution before the Thanksgiving holiday.
California, Ohio, North Carolina and New York are imposing new business-sapping restrictions.
That promises to heap even more pressure on the nation’s economic recovery, which was already downshifting as nearly $3 trillion in federal government virus relief aid fades.
Economists have been sounding the alarm, urging Washington to pass a fresh round of stimulus measures to help struggling businesses and households as well as state and local governments.
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio warned on Tuesday that the city needs stimulus aid from the federal government to stay above water.
“If there’s not a stimulus, the state of New York is going to be in dire, dire shape, and, unfortunately, might have to pass on cuts to localities,” de Blasio told a news conference.
More red flags are being waived by the airline industry that has been gutted by the pandemic.
Globally, airlines will lose another $39bn next year on top of the $118bn they are expected to bleed out this year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.
Back in June, the IATA had forecast $100bn in losses over the two years, but with surging coronavirus infections and shutdowns, it upgraded that number to $157bn on Tuesday.