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Dow rises more than 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 help bill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 207 points, or perhaps 0.7 %. The S&P 500 climbed 0.7 %, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6 %. All three 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 many days after Trump suggested he would veto the legislation, demanding $2,000 direct payments to Americans, instead of $600.

Most of the bluster neither significantly 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 five 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 moderate and longer-term view for stocks will be positive, Essaye included.

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

Wall Street is actually coming off a quiet holiday week in which the major averages were level. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 % last week as several investors procured the chips off into the year-end. The 30-stock Dow eked out a 0.1 % gain for the very same period.

Profit-taking could ramp up in the final week of the season, that has thus far seen surprisingly good returns. The S&P 500 has acquired 15.4 % year to date, although 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 nation can see a surge in new Covid 19 infections after Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. 2 vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer have started the distribution process this month. And so much over one million men and women in the U.S. have been vaccinated.

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