Dow surges over 300 points and S&P 500, Nasdaq rally to records as Thanksgiving trading kicks off

Dow surges over 300 points and S&P 500, Nasdaq rally to records as Thanksgiving trading kicks off
Dow surges over 300 points and SP 500 Nasdaq rally

U.S. stock benchmarks rallied Monday morning, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite establishing early records to start a holiday-shortened week. Gains for equities came as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell was nominated by President Joe Biden for a second term as head of the U.S. central bank, as had been widely expected.

How stock benchmarks are trading
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 285 points, or 0.8%, to 35,881.

S&P 500 index
advances 41 points, or 0.9%, to around 4,739, near an intraday all-time high set around Monday’s open at 4,743.14.

The Nasdaq Composite Index
climbed 136 points, or 0.8%, to reach 16,192, near an intraday record for the technology-laden index set near the start of the session at 16,202.32.


On Friday, the S&P 500 closed down 0.1% at 4,697.96 and the Dow industrials fell 0.8% to 35,601.98, but the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.4% to finish at a record 16,057.44. Need to know: Here’s why Santa may skip Wall Street this yearWhat’s driving the markets? Markets were trading at or near all-time highs early Monday, in likely thin trading ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day holiday. The market’s buoyancy comes after the White House announced that Biden had nominated Powell to a second four-year term. The announcement might remove some uncertainty for market participants hoping to maintain some semblance of stability in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Powell, viewed as a moderate Republican with a career in investment banking, was originally nominated to be chairman in 2017 by Donald Trump. Some doubts about Powell being renamed to the head of the Fed had been lingering as equities have been anxious about rising inflation in the aftermath of the pandemic and talk of the need for more aggressive Fed monetary policy. Biden also nominated Fed Gov. Lael Brainard, who was seen as a possible replacement for Powell, to serve as Fed vice chairwoman. U.S. markets will be closed Thursday and see an abbreviated session Friday. According to Bespoke Investment Group, Thanksgiving week has traditionally resulted in a modest gain for stocks dating back to 1945. Read: Falling real yields are a key to the stock-market rally: What investors need to know “Based on the historical data…there is a two-thirds chance that we will see the U.S. stocks up on the day before and after Thanksgiving,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote, in a note to clients. Despite all the external factors buffeting markets, they have maintained record-setting loft and consumers have been at the heart of the advance. The National Retail Federation is predicting November and December holiday sales will rise 8.5% to 10% this year to around $850 billion, part of that comes from the higher cost of goods. “But the good news is, people still have money to spend, even though they get less goods and services in exchange of what’s spent,” Ozkardeshkaya said. On the data front, existing home sales for October rose by nearly 1% to 6.34 million annual rate, ahead of economists’ estimates for 6.2 million and a 6.29 million rise in September. The data comes ahead of a massive dump coming Wednesday, will include an update to third-quarter gross domestic product, durable goods and personal income. Elsewhere, there was some optimism for China policy easing, after the People’s Bank of China reportedly cut several phrases about policy restraint in a report. Still, rising COVID-19 cases and increased restrictions in Europe have given some investors pause, notably hurting oil futures, which tumbled to around a seven-week low at the end of last week, as investors start factoring in the potential for another stay-at-home winter. European stocks were modestly higher as Austria kicked off its national lockdown, which could extend to 20 days, amid weekend protests in Brussels and the Netherlands against increasing restrictions elsewhere for the unvaccinated. Staying on the geopolitical front, Russian stocks tumbled amid U.S. and Europe concerns about a Russia troop buildup on Ukraine border. Citing sources, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. has shared intelligence with European allies that shows plans for an invasion into Ukraine, should President Vladimir Putin decide to go that route.What companies are in focus?
Shares of Avaya Holdings Corp. AVYA shares jumped on Monday after the company’s better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. 

How are other assets trading?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note 
rose 5 basis points to 1.5831%. Yields and debt prices move in opposite directions.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index 
 a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.1%.

Gold futures
fell 0.6% to $1,841.10 an ounce.

The Stoxx Europe 600 
turned flat, while London’s FTSE 100 
was also unchanged.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite
 rose 0.6%, while the Hang Seng Index 
 declined 0.4% in Hong Kong, and China’s CSI 300 
 rose 0.4%, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK finished flat.

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