Virus Anxiety Clashes with Fiscal Relief Agreement…..

U.S. equities clawed their way out of a deep early hole and finished mixed, as the holiday-shortened week kicked off. Worsening virus trends were the main catalyst for the early drawdown, as new travel restrictions were implemented across Europe in response to a new fast-spreading strain of the COVID-19 that has shutdown most of the U.K. This pressure largely offset any positive sentiment stirred up by an agreement in Congress on a new fiscal stimulus package of roughly $900 billion. Moreover, Moderna’s vaccine, which was granted Emergency Use Authorization, also couldn’t help the markets overcome the worrying coronavirus trends. In other equity news, Tesla was in the spotlight, as the electric vehicle maker joined the S&P 500 Index today and Lockheed Martin will acquire Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings for $4.4 billion in cash. Treasuries yields came down as bond prices increased, and the U.S. dollar was higher amid an empty economic calendar, while crude oil prices fell and gold was slightly lower in choppy trading. Asia finished mixed and Europe saw widespread losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 37 points (0.1%) to 30,216, the S&P 500 Index lost 14 points (0.4%) at 3,695, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 13 points (0.1%) to 12,743. In heavy volume, 1.1 billion shares were traded on the NYSE and 5.1 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil tumbled $1.27 to $47.97 per barrel and wholesale gasoline lost $0.04 to $1.36 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price slid $5.40 to $1,875.95 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—increased 0.1% to 90.14.

Treasuries were higher, with the yield on the 2-year note little changed, while the yields on the 10-year note and 30-year bond declined 2 basis points to 0.93% and 1.67%, respectively.

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