Dow Jones hits record high, rising for fourth session out of five

Dec. 30 (UPI) — The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high on Wednesday as investors reacted to renewed optimism surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.

The blue-chip index climbed for the fourth time in five sessions to end the day up 73.89 points, or 0.24%, to a record closing high of 30,409.56. The S&P 500 also rose 0.24% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.15%.

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Wednesday’s gains came after Britain approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford for emergency use.

Markets also continued to keep an eye on the debate in Congress over stimulus payments to Americans as $600 payments were sent out to Americans, while Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill tying $2,000 payments to demands by President Donald Trump on election security and removing legal protections from tech companies.

Disney led the Dow higher, rising 2.12%, while Chinese tech company Baidu led the Nasdaq higher with a 12.59% rise and the S&P 500’s energy and materials sectors each gained 1%.

Wednesday’s gains came after markets dipped on Tuesday when McConnell blocked a vote on the original bill raising stimulus payments.

Overall, the Nasdaq is up 43.4% on the year, the S&P 500 is up 15.5% and the Dow has gained 6.6%.

“We expect strong economic growth to reemerge in 2021 in the wake of headwinds from the pandemic in 2020 and the U.S.-China trade war in 2019,” said Doug Rao, portfolio manager at Janus Henderson Investors. “While leadership has thus far been narrow — limited mostly to the digital economy — we foresee a broadening recovery as vaccines are widely implemented and consumers are able to reengage with the physical economy.”