“To the extent that we are seeing a slight rise post the meeting, it likely reflects continued confidence on the part of investors who believe low rates for an extended period provides support to stock prices even at these elevated levels,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.
Gains in tech stocks, many of which have benefited from changes in consumer habits because of the pandemic, pushed the Nasdaq to a record high. Microsoft surged.
Investor sentiment has oscillated in recent sessions between optimism about the early distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine and worries about record infection rates in the United States. Despite the pandemic, the S&P 500 has climbed over 14 per cent in 2020.
US congressional negotiators were “closing in on” a $US900 billion ($1.19 billion) COVID-19 aid bill that will include $US600 to $US700 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, and Congress could start voting within 24 hours, lawmakers and aides said.
With the market’s focus on aid to consumers and business to combat the economic fallout from the virus, the “news of the day” was a possible deal in Washington, said William Northey, senior investment director at US Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
“That appears to be coming closer to a reality,” he said.
Data showed US retail sales fell 1.1 per cent last month from October, as new coronavirus infections and decreasing household income weighed on spending.
The S&P 500 airlines index dropped after JPMorgan issued multiple downgrades in the sector, citing valuations.
Southwest Airlines Co fell after flagging a higher cash burn in the fourth quarter, as well as increased trip cancellations in December.
Alphabet edged down after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he will file a multi-state lawsuit against the parent company of Google.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.15 per cent to end at 30,154.93 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.18 per cent to 3,701.26.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.5 per cent to 12,658.19.