Dow Jones hits record high, rising for fourth session out of five

A sign for Wall Street hangs outside at the New York Stock Exchange on April 20. Stocks were down Friday morning ahead of President Donald Trump's news conference on China. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Dec. 30 (UPI) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high on Wednesday as investors reacted to renewed optimism surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.

The blue-chip index climbed for the fourth time in five sessions to end the day up 73.89 points, or 0.24%, to a record closing high of 30,409.56. The S&P 500 also rose 0.24% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.15%.

Wednesday’s gains came after Britain approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford for emergency use.

Markets also continued to keep an eye on the debate in Congress over stimulus payments to Americans as $600 payments were sent out to Americans, while Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill tying $2,000 payments to demands by President Donald Trump on election security and removing legal protections from tech companies.

Disney led the Dow higher, rising 2.12%, while Chinese tech company Baidu led the Nasdaq higher with a 12.59% rise and the S&P 500’s energy and materials sectors each gained 1%.

Wednesday’s gains came after markets dipped on Tuesday when McConnell blocked a vote on the original bill raising stimulus payments.

Overall, the Nasdaq is up 43.4% on the year, the S&P 500 is up 15.5% and the Dow has gained 6.6%.

“We expect strong economic growth to reemerge in 2021 in the wake of headwinds from the pandemic in 2020 and the U.S.-China trade war in 2019,” said Doug Rao, portfolio manager at Janus Henderson Investors. “While leadership has thus far been narrow — limited mostly to the digital economy — we foresee a broadening recovery as vaccines are widely implemented and consumers are able to reengage with the physical economy.”

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