U.S. stocks wrapped a wild 2020 with a basket of records even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scuttled increasing the size of stimulus checks to $2,000.
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|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||30937.04||-22.96||-0.07%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||13626.064934||-9.93||-0.07%|
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 200 points or 0.65%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.64% both closing at record highs. The Nasdaq rose 0.14% just shy of its record level.
For the year, the tech-heavy index gained a whopping 43%, while the S&P clocked gains of more than 16% and the Dow over 7%.
Elon Musk's Tesla scored another victory closing above the $700 level pushing annual gains to 743% for the year after being added to the S&P in December.
McConnell wants the upsized checks to be tied to several of President Trump's priorities, including a repeal of Section 230 liability protections for online platforms and an investigation into election security.
In economic news, Initial jobless claims unexpectedly fell to 787,000 in the week ended Dec. 26. from an upwardly revised 806,000. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting the total of first-time unemployment filings to rise by 30,000 to 833,000. Continuing claims, meanwhile, fell to 5.219 million versus the 5.39 million that analysts were anticipating.
Looking at stocks, Exxon Mobil Corp. plans to take a $20 billion write-down, mostly on natural gas properties, the company said in a regulatory filing out Wednesday. The oil major, which also noted gains in its chemical and oil businesses, had previously expected a write-down of $17 billion to $20 billion.
|XOM||EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION||45.87||-1.03||-2.20%|
In deals, Tribune Publishing Co. received a takeover bid from its largest shareholder, hedge fund Alden Global Capital. The deal would pay shareholders $14.25 per share, valuing Tribune at $520.6 million. Alden already owns 32% of the publisher.
Elsewhere, Walt Disney Co. hit record highs rallying 25% for the year amid the pandemic which shuttered parks.
|DIS||WALT DISNEY COMPANY||169.50||-2.52||-1.46%|
Enphase Energy Inc. will be added to the S&P 500 beginning on Jan. 7, replacing Tiffany & Co. which is being bought by French luxury goods maker LVMH.
|ENPH||ENPHASE ENERGY INC||187.34||-15.39||-7.59%|
Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 35 cents to $47.85 per barrel and gold advanced $9 to $1,902.40 an ounce.
European markets were lower across the board with Britain’s FTSE 100 down 1.45%, Germany’s DAX 30 weaker by 0.31% and France’s CAC 40 down 0.86%.
In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite index surged 1.72%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.31% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 0.45%.