Key U.S. indices rose in Wednesday trading. The recent signing of a coronavirus relief bill and a vaccination boosted expectations that the economy will recover quickly from the pandemic, leading stocks of everything from entertainment companies to commodity producers to rise. The Wall Street Journal reported this.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average set its 13th best close of the year on Wednesday, thanks to gains in Walt Disney stock. The blue-chips added 73.89 points, or 0.2 percent, to 30,409.56 points. The S&P 500 rose 5.00 points, or 0.1%, to 3,732.04, and the high-tech Nasdaq rose 19.78 points, or 0.2%, to 12,870.00.
According to Dow Jones Market Data, together the three indexes hit 100 record closes in 2020-the highest for the year since 2017.
The major indexes are nearing their 2020 close with significant gains, even as the pandemic continues to weigh on the economy. The S&P 500 Index is up 16% for the year, and the Nasdaq is up 43%. And many investors believe the rally will continue into 2021.
According to Hank Smith, head of investment strategy at Haverford Trust, monetary policy and fiscal stimulus will continue to influence economic growth through 2021.
In recent weeks, the news on the vaccine and the $908 billion stimulus package had a positive impact on the U.S. stock market. But investors' optimism was reduced by the ongoing pandemic.
On corporate news, Disney shares gained $3.87, or 2.2%, to $181.17. Energy stocks were the leaders in the S&P 500 Index. Freeport-McMoRan shares rose $1.79, or 7.2%, to $26.53, while Devon Energy shares added 83 cents, or 5.4%, to $16.14.
Shares of AstraZeneca fell 0.8% in London trading after Britain approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by the company and Oxford University.
"AstraZeneca's vaccine depends on a lot, much more than any other vaccine globally," said Hani Redha, a multi-asset portfolio manager at PineBridge Investments. "The sheer number of doses and the fact that it's easier to distribute, especially in developing countries, makes it important," he added.
Financial managers are mostly looking beyond the short-term problems caused by the pandemic and are betting that vaccines will allow governments to begin easing restrictions and give new impetus to the economic recovery. Still, some investors note that risks remain.
"Investors can't bring themselves to imagine what would happen if the vaccine didn't make a huge success," said Felipe Toews, chief executive of Toews Asset Management. "That would be a very important development that could have a huge impact on the markets."
In bond markets, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries fell to 0.926 percent from 0.934 percent Tuesday.
Overseas, the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.3 percent. In Asia, most major indices closed higher. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 2.2%; Shanghai Composite gained 1%.
Earlier key US indices ended Tuesday with a slight decline. All three indices closed Monday at record highs.