By Karen Langley and Caitlin Ostroff
U.S. stock indexes climbed to records Friday as the revival of
stimulus negotiations bolstered expectations that the economy can
weather the pandemic's continued spread.
The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, technology-heavy
Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 small-cap index closed at new
highs, the first time since January 2018 that all four indexes
closed at records on the same day, according to Dow Jones Market
The records capped a week of modest gains in the stock market,
after indexes surged in November amid a drumbeat of promising
reports on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines. News that
several vaccine candidates may be effective has raised hopes for
recovery in industries damaged by the pandemic
"As grim as the pandemic news may be over the next three or four
months, the vaccine at the end of the tunnel will probably mean
that the markets overlook that grim news," said George Ball, chief
executive of private investment firm Sanders Morris Harris.
The S&P 500 rose 1.7% for the week, while the Dow
industrials added 1%. The Russell 2000's 2% weekly gain nearly
matched the 2.1% rise in the Nasdaq Composite, an example of how
economically-sensitive stocks have recently competed with the
technology shares that dominated earlier in the year.
Investors watched closely in recent days as momentum grew in
Washington for a new coronavirus aid package that could shore up
the economic recovery. New data Friday showing a sharp decline in
job growth in November added to the sense of urgency behind the
negotiations, with members of both parties pointing to the jobs
report as impetus for swift action.
"You are still looking at an economy that is in pain," said Amy
Kong, chief investment officer at Barrett Asset Management. "You
want to make sure that the household income is continuing on, or
the momentum is there, because I believe once household income gets
to a level where it impacts confidence, it's going to be hard to
get folks to spend again."
U.S. consumers boosted spending in October for a sixth straight
month, but recent survey data suggests their views of the economic
outlook dimmed in November. Consumer spending accounts for more
than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
The November jobs report showed employers added 245,000 jobs
last month, less than half the 610,000 jobs added in October and
below economists' expectations. The unemployment rate edged down to
6.7% from 6.9% in October, partly because fewer Americans were
looking for work.
"The jobs report's important," said Tom Hainlin, national
investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "But it just
kind of confirms what we're seeing, which is there's only so much
recovery we're going to see until we can get the economy fully
Newly reported Covid-19 cases in the U.S. hit a record high
Thursday, as did deaths reported in a day, as the global death toll
from the coronavirus pandemic passed 1.5 million. Hospitalizations
also hit a record, with 100,667 people in the U.S. admitted as of
Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
Amid the bleak news, stocks rose Friday. The S&P 500 gained
32.40 points, or 0.9%, to 3699.12. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
advanced 248.74 points, or 0.8%, to 30218.26. The Nasdaq Composite
added 87.05 points, or 0.7%, to 12464.23.
Among individual stocks, shares of DocuSign gained $12.21, or
5.3%, to $243.22 after the company provided guidance that topped
analysts' expectations. Ulta Beauty shares declined $9.99, or 3.5%,
to $279.54 after its chief executive said the company is expecting
fourth-quarter comparable-store sales to fall between 12% and
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note
rose to 0.967%, from 0.919% on Thursday.
Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil markets, climbed 1.1%
to $49.25 a barrel--its highest settle value since March--after
OPEC and a group of Russia-led oil producers agreed to increase
their collective output by 500,000 barrels a day next month.
The world's biggest producers are betting that the worst of a
pandemic-inspired shock to demand is behind them after curtailed
travel weighed heavily on oil prices this year.
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6%.
Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.2%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index
In Hong Kong, shares of China National Offshore Oil and
Semiconductor Manufacturing International dropped over 2% after the
U.S. Defense Department added the state oil giant and chip maker to
a list of nearly three dozen companies the U.S. says helps the
The blacklist, which the U.S. launched last month, has hit
stocks and bonds of the targeted Chinese companies. Index compilers
FTSE Russell, JPMorgan and MSCI are rethinking their stance on
these securities targeted by the U.S. government and have been
collecting investor feedback.
Frances Yoon contributed to this article.
Write to Karen Langley at email@example.com and Caitlin
Ostroff at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 04, 2020 17:14 ET (22:14 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.