U.S. Stock Markets Are Climbing as the Last Week of 2020 Begins

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President Donald Trump signed a Covid-19 relief package into law.

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U.S. stocks were rising after President Donald Trump signed the Covid-19 relief package into law.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures have advanced 150 points, or 0.5%, while S&P 500 futures have gained 0.7%, and Nasdaq Composite futures have risen 0.7%.

As late as Sunday afternoon, it was still unclear whether Trump would sign the bill, which would enable small business to have cash to rehire workers once vaccines are widely distributed and states reopen. Households will enjoy stimulus checks and unemployment benefits. The possibility of a veto didn’t bother the stock market, which rose through those concerns, as a veto would have likely been overridden in Congress.

Economically-sensitive stocks were on the move. Bank stocks were up, as interest rates rose, a boon to bank profitability. Bank of America (BAC) rose more than 1%. Oil stocks rose, with the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) up more tan 1%. Airlines were also up sharply, with United Airlines (UAL) up more than 1.5%.

Elsewhere, the European Union has now begun giving vaccines to 450 million people, another step along the way of vaccinating and reopening the world.

WTI Crude oil futures rose 0.9% to $48.65 a barrel, while gold futures fell 0.1% to 1,881 as investors bought risky assets. The 10-year treasury yield rose to 0.96% The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY) slipped less than 0.1%.

It will be a relatively quiet week on Wall Street, as markets will be closed Friday January 1. There are no major economic data to be released until Wednesday, on which day investors will get a glimpse at pending home sales. Initial jobless claims are due Thursday.

The markets have had a great year despite the damage inflicted by the coronavirus, but uncertainty remains. In 2021, investors will wrestle with vaccine distribution issues and the possibility of a weaker dollar. And it’s possible that much of the vaccine and stimulus news has been priced into the market, with the S&P 500 up almost 14% for the year.

But those are worries for next year. Let’s get out of 2020 first.

Write to Jacob Sonenshine at jacob.sonenshine@barrons.com