S&P 500 heads for year-end again after overcoming plunge in March 2020

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Updated: Nov 24, 2020 10:41 AM

The S&P 500 briefly extended gains on news that Joe Biden will nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be Treasury Secretary.

U.S. stocks, S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, Russell 2000, Tech shares, gold,The Nasdaq 100 was little changed, while the Russell 2000 of smaller companies jumped almost 2%.

Bloomberg: U.S. stocks climbed as investors piled into companies that will benefit most from a return to normal economic activity. Tech shares lagged behind, while gold slumped.

The S&P 500 briefly extended gains on news that Joe Biden will nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to be Treasury Secretary. She recently said the recovery will be uneven and lackluster if Congress doesn’t spend more to fight unemployment and keep small businesses afloat.

“The market would view Janet Yellen’s appointment as market-friendly. At the very least, she is likely to work well with Chair Powell,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance.

The Nasdaq 100 was little changed, while the Russell 2000 of smaller companies jumped almost 2%. AstraZeneca Plc became the latest firm to deliver positive vaccine developments, bolstering demand for cruise-line operators and airlines. Small caps are up about 18% in November, on track for the best month ever.

Vaccine successes lately have added to a risk-on mood in markets and investors have snapped up assets that could benefit from the end of lockdowns and travel restrictions even as the virus rages across the nation. Investors have also started to anticipate Congress will again deliver a spending bill to stave off the economic effects of new restrictions aimed at slowing the virus.

“In the short-term, anything is possible and from a humanitarian perspective it is awful that the people who currently need the most help are not getting it,” said Jonathan Boyar, managing director at Boyar Value Group. “But with multiple viable vaccines on the horizon, I think the market will largely look through the horrible headlines. There certainly, however, will be some fits and starts along the way.”

U.S. vaccinations against Covid-19 will “hopefully” start in less than three weeks, said Moncef Slaoui, head of the government’s Operation Warp Speed, on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. An advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration is meeting on Dec. 10 to discuss emergency use authorizations.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting are due Wednesday.
  • U.S. jobless claims, GDP and personal spending data come Wednesday.
  • U.K. expected on Wednesday to deliver the government’s spending plans for next year.
  • Thursday sees a policy decision and briefing from the Bank of Korea.
  • U.S. celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.
  • The week ends with Black Friday, the traditional start of the U.S. holiday shopping season.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index advanced 0.6% as of 4 p.m. New York time.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2%.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.3%.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.2%.
The euro declined 0.2% to $1.1839.
The Japanese yen depreciated 0.6% to 104.50 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries climbed three basis points to 0.85%.
Germany’s 10-year yield advanced less than one basis point to -0.58%.
Britain’s 10-year yield climbed two basis points to 0.318%.

Commodities

The Bloomberg Commodity Index was little changed.
West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 1.2% to $42.94 a barrel.
Gold depreciated 1.9% to $1,836.26 an ounce.

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