Stocks drifted higher on a low-volume, holiday-shortened Thursday. The status of a $900 billion fiscal stimulus bill that passed in Congress this week remains unclear after President Donald Trump demanded last-minute changes. Still, investors don’t seem concerned—it’s likely a matter of when, not if, the package does become law.
An ongoing vaccine rollout, ultra-easy monetary policy, and the path to an economic and earnings recovery on the horizon are all powerful forces that continue to keep risky assets biased upward. Yet another stimulus delay doesn’t change that prevailing thesis.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed up 70 points, or 0.2%, on Christmas Eve, while the
rose 0.4% and the
advanced 0.3%. The
index slipped 0.2%.
U.S. stock indexes closed broadly higher on Wednesday but lost some gains in late trading after President Trump vetoed a $740.5 billion defense bill. It followed Trump’s criticism of the $900 billion coronavirus aid bill, which the president called an “unsuitable disgrace” pressing instead for $2,000 checks to Americans rather than $600.
Across the pond, the European Union and the United Kingdom sealed a deal on their future trading relationship after months of protracted negotiations and several missed deadlines.
marched higher, rising 0.3% against the dollar to $1.3542, near the 2½-year highs of $1.3625 the currency hit last week.
slipped 0.1% and the U.K.’s
edged 0.1% higher. The German
was closed for the holidays.
The threat of Covid-19 still looms large across Europe with cases rising. The U.K. announced that more regions would enter the toughest tier 4 level of restrictions on Saturday as the country battles to contain a new strain of the virus, said to be 70% more contagious.
The country’s health minister, Matt Hancock, also revealed that a second new strain had been detected, from South Africa. “This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant discovered in the U.K.,” he said on Wednesday.
Read: New U.S. Covid-19 Vaccine Deal Gives Pfizer $2 Billion More in Sales
Asian stocks closed broadly higher but fell in Shanghai after China’s market regulator launched an antitrust investigation of
Alibaba Group Holding
(ticker: BABA). The e-commerce giant’s New York-listed shares dropped 13.4% on Thursday.
Read: Here Are Barron’s 10 Top Stocks for the New Year
(BUD) stock closed about flat after a consortium led by Apollo Global agreed to buy a 49.9% stake in the Budweiser brewer’s U.S.-based metal container plants in a deal worth $3 billion.
(FISV) rose 1.8% after Tigress Financial initiated coverage with a Buy rating.
(TSLA) shares gained 2.4% after volatile trading in the past several days. It was officially included in the S&P 500 index Monday.
(IQ), a Chinese internet and streaming company, saw its shares rise 1.9%—reversing an earlier loss—after Loop capital reiterated its Hold rating and lowered its price target to $18 from $25.
(SQ) shares fell 1% after reports that it held talks to acquire Jay-Z’s Tidal. The synergies between electronic payments and music streaming were unclear.