Wall Street at record high as Democrats take control of Senate

(Reuters) – Wall Street hit record levels on Thursday as market participants bet on more coronavirus relief aid under a Democrat-controlled U.S. Congress to help the economy ride out a steep pandemic-led downturn.

FILE PHOTO: A Wall St. sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the financial district in New York, U.S., November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Economy-linked financials jumped 2.1%, while industrial and materials sectors hovered near record highs on expectations that President-elect Joe Biden would line up a bigger fiscal package and boost infrastructure spending.

“You’re seeing a reflation trade on the assumption that a more progressive and aggressive fiscal stimulus packages could be in the offing,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at GlobAlt in Atlanta.

Rate-sensitive bank shares gained 3.3%, tracking a surge in the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield. [US/]

The S&P 500 technology, up 2.4%, was set to more than make up for its losses from a day earlier, when shares of some of the biggest technology companies dropped on fears of increased regulation.

The NYSE FANG+TM index, which includes the core FAANG group of stocks that have led the Wall Street rally from pandemic lows, gained 2.1%.

The Congress on Thursday certified Biden’s election victory, hours after hundreds of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a harrowing assault on American democracy that briefly weighed on markets.

At 11:47 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 306.47 points, or 0.99%, to 31,135.87, the S&P 500 gained 57.18 points, or 1.53%, to 3,805.32 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 306.33 points, or 2.40%, to 13,047.12.

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits unexpectedly dipped last week, while staying elevated, a Labor Department report showed, with the job market recovery appearing to stall as COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm the country.

“With more stimulus coming, even if we do have a miss on claims, it’s going to be a little bit less severe, because we know there’s going to be a bigger back up for those who are recently unemployed,” said Max Gokhman, head of asset allocation at Pacific Life Fund Advisors in Newport Beach, California.

Investors are now awaiting a comprehensive December jobs report, which is expected on Friday.

DXC Technology surged 7% as France’s IT consulting group Atos made a more than $10 billion takeover approach for its U.S. rival, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Electric-car maker Tesla Inc jumped 6% to a record high after RBC Capital Markets upgraded its stock rating to “sector perform”.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc advanced 6.6%, leading gains among Dow components, after it beat analysts’ estimates for adjusted quarterly profit, driven by higher sales at its retail pharmacy stores and higher prescription volumes.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.6-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.8-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 92 new 52-week highs and no new lows while the Nasdaq recorded 445 new highs and 13 new lows.

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