U.S. stock markets closed modestly higher on Thursdayâ€™s shortened session as investors monitored the progress of the COVID-19 relief bill. Moreover, investorsâ€™ sentiment was lifted after the U.K. arrived at a trade deal with the European Union before its exit from the trade bloc on Jan 1. All three major stock indexes ended the day in green.
How Did The Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rallied 0.2%, closing at 30,199.87, continuing its 2-day winning run. Notably, 19 components of the 30-stock index ended in green while 11 finished the day in red.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite closed the day at 12,804.73, up 0.3%, on the back of strong performance by large-cap technology stocks, reversing its losses from Wednesday. Shares of QUALCOMM Inc. QCOM, Apple Inc. AAPL and Microsoft Corp. MSFT popped 1.3%, 0.8% and 0.8%, respectively. Notably, Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of todayâ€™s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The S&P 500 gained 0.4%, closing the day at 3,703.06, maintaining its 2-day winning streak. The Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) and the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLK) surged 1% and 0.7%, respectively. Notably, ten out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in the positive zone and one in the red.
The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 7.6% to 21.53. A total of 6.14 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 11.30 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.53-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.08-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.
Markets Monitor Passage of Fiscal Stimulus
Investors remained watchful of the progress of the COVID-19 relief package as the U.S. House of Representatives blocked the Democratsâ€™ attempt on Thursday to pass $2,000 as direct payments. The move followed President Donald Trumpâ€™s earlier insistence on $2,000 direct payment to be made to Americans instead of $600 proposed in the $900 billion stimulus bill.
Britain Strikes Brexit Trade Deal with European Union
The U.K. arrived at a trade deal with the European Union just a week before it is set to leave the trading bloc. The agreement remains to be ratified by both the U.K. and European parliaments. Once ratified, the deal will ensure that the two sides can trade in goods without any tariffs or quotas post Britainâ€™s exit from the trade bloc.
U.S. stock markets ended the holiday-shortened week on a mixed note. The Dow and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively while the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% during the week. Investors remained watchful of the passage of the COVID-19 relief bill during the week as the vaccine continues to be administered in the United States.
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