Day Traders Diary
The major averages Stocks rose slightly on Wednesday amid renewed vaccine optimism while traders looked for clues on additional fiscal stimulus. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 73 points, or 0.2%, to 30,409. The 30-stock average eked out a record closing high. The S&P 500 climbed 0.1% to 3,732 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.2% to close at 12,870. Wednesday marked the fourth positive session in five for both the Dow and S&P 500.
Disney rose more than 2% to lead the Dow higher. Energy and materials were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, jumping more than 1% each.
Wednesday's move higher came after a British regulator approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca for emergency use. The approval followed the discovery of a new Covid strain in the U.K., which has also been confirmed in the U.S. AstraZeneca shares climbed 0.6%.
Wall Street also weighed the prospects of greater coronavirus relief as lawmakers continued to disagree over direct payments to Americans.
The Senate currently has no plans to vote on a bill that would increase checks to $2,000 from $600. That measure was passed by the House late Monday. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced another bill that ties the increased payments to demands from President Donald Trump on tech and the election.
The number of Covid cases continues to tick higher. The U.S. is now recording at least 188,167 new cases and more than 2,250 virus-related deaths each day, based on a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data.
With just one trading day left in the year, the major averages were on track to end 2020 higher. The Dow is up 6.6% for the year, while the S&P 500 has gained 15.5%. But the clear year-to-date winner remains the Nasdaq Composite, which has gained 43.4%.
U.S. Treasuries finished little changed. The 2-yr yield was flat at 0.13%, and the 10-yr yield decreased one basis point to 0.93%. The U.S. Dollar Index decreased 0.4% to 89.64. WTI crude futures increased 0.9%, or $0.42, to $48.39/bbl.
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