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UPDATE2: Dow tops 30,000 for 1st time on transition hope, vaccine progress

11/24/2020 | 04:48pm

The Dow on Tuesday topped the 30,000 threshold for the first time as investors grew optimistic about the economic outlook following the start of the transition of power from U.S. President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden and amid reports of progress toward COVID-19 vaccines.

The 30-issue Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 454.97 points, or 1.54 percent, to end at 30,046.24. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 156.15 points, or 1.31 percent, to 12,036.79.

New York stocks opened higher as Trump finally gave the green light to start the transition process the previous day despite continuing his legal fight and other efforts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election, while Biden unveiled some members of his envisioned Cabinet.

Investors reacted positively as the Biden team gears up its preparations for the transition, with the belief that the incoming Democratic administration will reduce political risks compared with the incumbent Trump, whose government has featured unpredictable policy changes, traders said.

Recent progress in the development of vaccines for the novel coronavirus also helped stocks gain ground.

The University of Oxford and British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc said Monday their vaccine candidate has shown up to 90 percent efficacy in trials. The announcement followed other promising results from U.S. drugmakers Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

Pfizer on Friday applied for emergency use authorization for its experimental coronavirus vaccine, marking a major step in the country's fight against the pandemic.

Moderna also said last week that its experimental vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The series of successful findings has raised hopes toward a breakthrough in the nearly year-long global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite surges in the numbers of infections and deaths in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, investors took heart from these reports as a sign of movement toward controlling the infectious disease, traders said.

"The stock market Dow Jones industrial average just hit 30,000 which is the highest in history," Trump said in the early afternoon. "And that's despite everything that's taken place with the pandemic, I'm very thrilled with what's happened on the vaccine front. That's been absolutely incredible."

Noting that the Dow had just exceeded the milestone, he said, "Never been broken, that number. That's a sacred number, 30,000. Nobody thought they'd ever see it."

"I just want to congratulate all the people within the administration that worked so hard. And most importantly I want to congratulate the people of our country, because there are no people like you," Trump added.

New York stocks remained firm throughout the day, with the Dow mostly staying above the 30,000 line in afternoon trading.

The sharp rise of the Dow comes as major equity markets in Europe as well as Japan rallied, with the bellwether Nikkei finishing at a 29-year high of 26,165.59 in Tokyo on Monday.

The Dow neared the 30,000 line in February, but the benchmark average went into a steep decline and fell below 19,000 in late March when the United States began to suffer stronger impacts from the pandemic.

As the U.S. government implemented stimulus measures and the Federal Reserve adopted a zero-interest rate monetary policy, however, U.S. stocks have risen gradually, pushing the Dow higher.

==Kyodo

© Kyodo News International, Inc., source Newswire

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