Thursday, December 3, 2020  

 
Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
 
 
US Stocks Tick Higher at Midday        12/03 12:56

   U.S. stocks are inching further into record heights Thursday, as Wall Street 
continues to coast following its rocket ride on hopes for coming COVID-19 
vaccines.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are inching further into record heights 
Thursday, as Wall Street continues to coast following its rocket ride on hopes 
for coming COVID-19 vaccines.

   The S&P 500 was up 0.2% in afternoon trading, a day after inching up to set 
another all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 153 points higher, 
or 0.5%, at 30,0237 as of 12:13 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 
up 0.5%.

   A couple reports that were better than expected on the economy helped 
support stocks. One showed that growth in the U.S. services sector, including 
health care and retail, was slightly stronger last month than economists 
expected. A separate report said fewer U.S. workers filed for unemployment 
benefits last week than forecast, though economists cautioned the number may 
have been distorted by the Thanksgiving holiday.

   Momentum across markets has slowed after the S&P 500 surged 10.8% last month 
on hopes that one or more coronavirus vaccines will get the global economy 
closer to normal next year. The burst of optimism boosted stocks of travel 
companies, banks and smaller businesses in particular, after they were among 
the most harshly punished during the pandemic.

   "It's pretty clear that investors are looking at some of those areas that 
would benefit from a more complete reopening," said David Lefkowitz, head of 
Americas equities at UBS Global Wealth Management.

   Now that stock indexes are back at all-time highs, worries about the 
still-raging pandemic are making further big gains more difficult. Governments 
around the world are considering the approval of several coronavirus vaccines, 
and a U.S. rollout could begin this month if regulators give their approval. 
Britain has already approved emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by 
Pfizer and BioNTech.

   But vaccines would initially go out only to protect health care workers and 
others at high risk. In the meantime, coronavirus counts and hospitalizations 
continue to surge. That has governments around the world bringing back varying 
degrees of restrictions on businesses and consumers worried about their own 
health. That, in turns, is threatening the economic recovery that got underway 
in the spring.

   Across the country, the Labor Department said 712,000 workers applied for 
jobless benefits last week. That's an improvement from the 787,000 of the prior 
week, but it still towers over the roughly 225,000 workers that were applying 
weekly before the pandemic struck.

   One hope that has flickered on and off in markets is that Democrats and 
Republicans in Washington may get past their bitter partisanship to reach a 
deal to provide more financial support for the economy. Democrats are making 
another push for a compromise and have cut their demands for the size of a 
potential rescue. President-elect Joe Biden urged Congress on Wednesday to pass 
a relief bill now, with more aid to come next year.

   But Democrats and Republicans have been arguing for months without much 
progress.

   "Ideally we would get some kind of fiscal support sooner rather than later," 
Lefkowitz said. "The big news is there's more of a line of sight on the fact 
that the economy will likely get back to full strength."

   On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary 
Steven Mnuchin underscored the importance of such relief during a House 
Financial Services Committee hearing. The economy has been struggling more 
since extra unemployment benefits and other stimulus approved earlier this year 
by Congress expired.

   Growth in the country's services industries slowed last month, according to 
a report from the Institute for Supply Management, though it was the sixth 
straight month of improvement.

   Apparel company PVH rose 7.8% for one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 
after the company behind the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands reported 
much stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

   Several travel-related companies were also at the top of the leaderboard, 
clawing back more of their precipitous losses from earlier in the pandemic. 
American Airlines Group rose 10.8%, Norwegian Cruise line gained 10%, and 
United Airlines climbed 7.8%. All three, though, remain more than 40% lower for 
2020.

   On the losing end was Kroger, which fell despite 4.7% despite reporting a 
stronger profit for its latest quarter than analysts expected. The grocer's 
revenue fell short of forecasts. Expectations may also have built too high 
after its stock performed better than the rest of the S&P 500 through much of 
the pandemic.

   The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 0.92% from 0.94% late Wednesday.

   In energy markets, oil prices were modestly higher as talks continue among 
OPEC countries on production levels. The talks are due to include Russia 
Thursday.

   U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 0.3% at $45.40 per barrel. Brent crude, the 
international standard, was 0.5% higher at $48.49 per barrel.

   In European stock markets, the German DAX lost 0.5%, and the French CAC 40 
fell 0.2%. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.4%.

   In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 was virtually flat. South Korea's Kospi rose 
0.8%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7% and stocks in Shanghai slipped 0.2%.

   ___

   AP Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.

   ---------

   itemid:fa736a9b9cb4b8aaf44d0270c985296e

 
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN