Stocks Rise to Record on Hope for New Aid Bill: Markets Wrap
A foreign currency dealer walks past monitors displaying the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi), left, and the exchange rate between the South Korean won and U.S. dollar. (Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg)

Stocks Rise to Record on Hope for New Aid Bill: Markets Wrap

U.S. stocks rallied to all-time highs as investors grew optimistic that recent federal spending will revive growth and bolster corporate earnings. Treasuries were little changed while the dollar weakened.

The Nasdaq 100 Index jumped more than 2% and the S&P 500 Index posted the best first-day reaction to a newly elected president’s inauguration since Jan. 20 became the official start in 1937. Netflix Inc. surged more than 17% after a jump in subscribers. Chipmaker ASML Holding NV rallied on solid results. Morgan Stanley gained after reporting record full-year results.

Investors looked past a fresh stumble in the rollout of vaccines and elevated infection rates, and eyed the promise of more stimulus and an expanded federal effort to get shots to more Americans quickly under President Joe Biden.

“If stimulus happens at the same time that people get vaccinated, the optimism can’t help but build,” said Keith Buchanan, a portfolio manager for GLOBALT Investments in Atlanta. “It’s a fairly safe bet there will be another stimulus package with more direct payments to consumers and individuals and more help for small businesses..”

Stocks Rise to Record on Hope for New Aid Bill: Markets Wrap

Investors are counting on more spending to help propel economic growth under Biden, who is planning a flurry of executive orders on his first day. Still, it won’t be all smooth sailing, with Janet Yellen encountering early Republican resistance to Biden’s relief plan in her confirmation hearing to become Treasury secretary.

On the virus front, Germany suffered record daily deaths and a study on the South African variant raised concern about the efficacy of vaccines.

Elsewhere, crude oil edged higher and gold traded touched an almost two-week high. In Asia, Chinese firms trading in Hong Kong saw the bulk of gains, and the Hang Seng Index approached the 30,000 level. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. rallied after billionaire Jack Ma resurfaced from months out of public view amid escalating scrutiny over his internet empire.

These are some key events coming up:

  • Policy decisions are due Wednesday from central banks in Brazil and Canada. The Bank of Japan and the ECB deliver decisions Thursday.
Stocks Rise to Record on Hope for New Aid Bill: Markets Wrap

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index increased 1.4% as of 4 p.m. New York time, the highest on record with the largest climb in almost two weeks.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2% to the highest on record.
  • The Nasdaq 100 Index rose 2.3% to an all-time high.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.7% to 410.78.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.2%.
  • The euro fell 0.2% to $1.2101.
  • The British pound rose 0.1% to $1.3644.
  • The Japanese yen appreciated 0.3% to 103.57 per dollar, the strongest in two weeks on the largest gain in more than a week.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries lost one basis point to 1.085%.
  • The two-year rate fell to 0.13%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield dipped less than one basis point to -0.53%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.6% to $53.29 a barrel.
  • Gold strengthened 1.4% to $1,865.95 an ounce, the highest in almost two weeks on the biggest jump in more than two weeks.

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