US stocks hit record highs as optimism on economic reopening accelerates

Trader nyse prayGetty Images / Bryan R. Smith
  • US stocks hit record highs on Tuesday as investor optimism on an accelerated economic reopening increased.
  • Daily COVID-19 cases have plunged over the past week as the administration of vaccines picks up steam.
  • Bitcoin’s surge past the $US50,000 ($64,288) level highlights the risk-on investment environment.
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US stocks traded at record highs on Tuesday as optimism around an accelerated reopening of the economy increased among investors.

The optimism is mostly predicated on a continued plunge in daily COVID-19 cases since the peak of the third wave in early January. On Sunday, there were about 55,000 recorded cases of COVID-19, compared to 93,000 a week ago.

The plunge in cases comes as the administration of COVID-19 vaccines accelerates, with the US recently seeing some days with more than 2 million doses given, though a snowstorm and plunging temperatures for about half the country slowed down the vaccine rollout over the holiday weekend.

Here’s where US indexes stood after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Tuesday:

Read More: The CIO of a $US700 ($900) million crypto asset manager breaks down why Elon Musk’s gradual acceptance of bitcoin means the digital currency has room to run – and shares why it’s launching an over-the-counter fund

Bitcoin surged past the key $US50,000 ($64,288) level on Tuesday, signalling that investors continue to be in a risk-on environment.

MicroStrategy is continuing its bitcoin buying binge, with plans to raise $US600 ($771) million from convertible debt to buy more of the cryptocurrency. Shares jumped 5% on the news.

Ark Invest is also benefiting from the rise in bitcoin prices. The investment management firm, founded by Cathie Wood, now owns more than 7 million shares in the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.

US oil and natural gas prices surged on Tuesday as freezing weather hit more than half the country, with Texas residents suffering from rolling blackouts as its electricity grid was overwhelmed by the increased demand for energy. 

Oil prices were mixed. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped as much as 0.92%, to $US60.02 ($77) per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was down 0.33%, to $US63.10 ($81) per barrel.

Gold fell 1.85%, to $US1,789.30 ($2,301) per ounce.

Read more: A Ruffer portfolio manager invested a portion of his $US4.8 ($6) billion fund in Bitcoin. Here’s what swayed him to bet on crypto – and the 2 other ways he’s hedging against worrying speculative bubbles

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