Wall Street at record high as Democrats take control of Senate

(Reuters) – Wall Street hit record levels on Thursday as market participants bet on more coronavirus relief aid under a Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress to help the economy ride out a steep pandemic-induced downturn.

FILE PHOTO: A Wall St. sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the financial district in New York, U.S., November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Investors shrugged off growing calls for President Donald Trump’s removal and a staff exodus on Thursday, one day after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy.

“The market is now looking past Trump and it’s looking forward to a Biden presidency, more structure and stimulus,” said Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trading LLC.

“A Democratic Congress is going to obviously be more concerned about the small businesses, and the Main Street.”

Economy-linked financials jumped 1.5%, while industrial and materials sectors hovered near record highs on expectations that President-elect Joe Biden would line up a bigger fiscal package and boost infrastructure spending.

“You’re seeing a reflation trade on the assumption that a more progressive and aggressive fiscal stimulus package could be in the offing,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at GlobAlt in Atlanta.

Rate-sensitive bank shares gained 2.7%, tracking a surge in the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield. [US/]

The S&P 500 technology index, up 2.4%, was set to more than make up for its losses from a day earlier, when shares of some of the biggest technology companies dropped on fears of increased regulation.

The NYSE FANG+TM index, which includes the core FAANG group of stocks that have led the Wall Street rally from pandemic lows, gained 2.5%.

At 01:35 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 228.82 points, or 0.74%, to 31,058.22, the S&P 500 gained 53.51 points, or 1.43%, to 3,801.69, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 302.87 points, or 2.38%, to 13,043.33.

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits unexpectedly dipped last week, while staying elevated, a Labor Department report showed, with the job market recovery appearing to stall as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm the country.

“With more stimulus coming, even if we do have a miss on claims, it’s going to be a little bit less severe, because we know there’s going to be a bigger back up for those who are recently unemployed,” said Max Gokhman, head of asset allocation at Pacific Life Fund Advisors in Newport Beach, California.

Investors are now awaiting a comprehensive December jobs report, which is expected on Friday.

DXC Technology Co surged 7% as France’s IT consulting group Atos SE made a more than $10 billion takeover approach for its U.S. rival, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Electric-car maker Tesla Inc jumped 6.4% to a record high, with its chief and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk surpassing Amazon.com Inc’s top boss Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man, according to a report.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc advanced 6%, leading gains among Dow components, after it beat analysts’ estimates for adjusted quarterly profit, driven by higher sales at its retail pharmacy stores and higher prescription volumes.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.5-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.7-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 93 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 477 new highs and 15 new lows.

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