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Wall Street wraps up 2020 with solid gains

Jan 02, 2021

Washington (US), January 2: U.S. stocks advanced in the final week of 2020, wrapping up the wild year with solid gains.
For the holiday-shortened trading week ending Thursday, the Dow rose 1.35 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 1.43 percent and the Nasdaq gained 0.65 percent. Markets were closed on Friday in observance of the New Year.
The S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly rise of 5.7 percent.
Investors continued to weigh the possibility of larger U.S. COVID-19 stimulus came as the nationwide caseload continues to spiral.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday rejected again to hold a vote on a standalone bill to boost stimulus checks to 2,000 U.S. dollars for individuals from 600 dollars, which had been approved by the Democrats-held House of Representatives.
"Washington Democrats took President Trump's suggestion and skewed it so the checks would benefit even more high-earning households," McConnell said on the Senate floor, adding the COVID-19 pandemic had affected rich and poor Americans differently.
U.S. President Donald Trump recently asked Congress to boost stimulus checks to 2,000 dollars after the House and the Senate had passed a 900-billion-dollar relief package, which would give 600 dollars of direct payments to individuals.
The president's call was embraced by Democrats, who have advocated for higher direct payments, but was frowned upon by some Republicans, who aimed to hold down the plan's overall cost.
The United States has registered more than 20 million confirmed COVID-19 cases with related deaths exceeding 347,000 as of Friday afternoon, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Wall Street also pored through the newly-released jobless claims data.
U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, decreased to 787,000 in the week ending Dec. 26, following an upwardly revised 806,000 in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a print of 828,000. Yet, the reading remains well above the pre-pandemic level.
For equities, 2020 was an unprecedented year as the COVID-19 pandemic hovered over the global economy, triggering wild market moves.
U.S. stocks plunged between mid-February and late March in a pattern that many referred to as an event-driven bear market. The downside was sharp, sudden and scary that saw the S&P 500 slump nearly 34 percent in only 23 trading sessions.
Since then, equities managed to bottom out, posted a full recovery and scored new record highs one after another, even as the U.S. real economy continued to struggle.
For the year 2020, the Dow rose 7.3 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq advanced 16.3 percent and 43.6 percent, respectively.
Source: Xinhua