- US stocks gained on Friday as hopes for a peaceful transition to the Biden administration offset concerns about soaring COVID-19 cases. The S&P 500 closed at a record high.
- President Donald Trump said Thursday that he’d hand over power when the Electoral College certifies President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
- The US reported 125,082 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the seven-day average to 163,831, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Deaths topped 254,000, and hospitalizations jumped above 90,000.
- The Cboe Volatility Index â€” or VIX, also known as the stock market’s “fear gauge” â€” fell as low as 19.51 on Friday, dropping amid low trading volumes to its lowest level since the pandemic began.
- Watch major indexes update live here.
US equities rose on Friday as optimism about President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to the White House squared off with rising virus risks. The S&P 500 closed at a record high.
President Donald Trump said Thursday that he’d pass on power to Biden when the Electoral College cements the president-elect’s victory. Though Trump indicated that he might never officially concede defeat, the statement further eased concerns that the sitting president wouldn’t allow for a peaceful transition of power.
Here’s where US indexes stood at the 1 p.m. ET close on Friday:
- S&P 500:3,638.35, up 0.2%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 29,910.37, up 0.1% (38 points)
- Nasdaq composite:12,205.85, up 0.9%
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US stock markets closed at 1 p.m. ET due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Biden administration’s transition and the president-elect’s announcement that he’d nominate Janet Yellen to be the treasury secretary lifted investor sentiments throughout the week. But rising coronavirus cases across the country reined in some bullishness.
The US reported 125,082 new cases on Thursday, bringing the seven-day average to 163,831, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitalizations rose above 90,000 and deaths above 254,000.
The fading of political uncertainties pulled market volatility to its lowest point since the pandemic froze economic activity in March. The Cboe Volatility Index â€” or VIX, commonly referred to as the stock market’s “fear gauge” â€” fell as low as 19.51 on Friday amid the calm trading activity.
Investors are likely to look to early reports of Black Friday shopping activity to gauge whether soaring case counts and the slowing pace of economic recovery will affect holiday-season sales. Consumer-spending and income data have pointed to worsening conditions, and some fear that weaker-than-expected holiday revenues could lead to new economic pain.
Bitcoin fell in Friday trading, extending its biggest slide since the start of the pandemic. The cryptocurrency had soared to just below its 2017 record of roughly $US19,700 before profit-taking dragged it below $US16,000 through the Thanksgiving holiday.
Palantir turned negative after strong initial gains after Citron Research said it has a short position on the stock. The firm expects Palantir shares to fall roughly 33% by the end of the year, adding that the company is “no longer a stock but a full casino.” Palantir has rallied more than 300% since its September direct listing.
Gold sank as much as 2.3%, to $US1,774.42 per ounce, its lowest since July. The US dollar weakened against all but one of its Group of 10 peers, while Treasury yields fell.
Oil futures traded mixed. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped as much as 2.5%, to $US44.55 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, posted an increase â€” it gained 1.3%, to $US48.45 per barrel, at intraday highs.
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