On the Money: Dow breaks 30,000 for first time as Biden transition ramps up | Consumer confidence falls as COVID-19 rages | Grocery, retail workers urge reinstatement of hazard pay ahead of holiday rush

A titillating Tuesday to you, and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Niv Elis, filling in for Sylvan Lane, with your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL: The Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 30,000 for the first time Tuesday and the S&P 500 closed at a record high in a post-election rally boosted by President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet picks and news on the development of several effective COVID-19 vaccines.

The Dow closed at 30,046, up 455 points, or 1.5 percent, while the S&P 500 closed at 3,635, up 58 points, or 1.6 percent.

Stocks have roared back from March lows, when they lost a third of their value as the novel coronavirus spread into a pandemic, leading to stay-at-home orders and restrictions on gatherings that hampered businesses and consumer confidence.

Aggressive monetary policy that brought rates down to zero, paired with fiscal stimulus and relief measures to the tune of $3 trillion, helped fuel the recovery in stocks, even as unemployment remains historically high.

Read more from me here.

LEADING THE DAY: Despite the good stock news, consumer confidence in November fell to its lowest level since August amid a spike in COVID-19 infections nationwide, according to new figures from the Conference Board.

The monthly gauge dropped to 96.1 this month, down from October’s revised reading of 101.4.

One of the main contributors to the overall decline came from declining confidence in the economy over the next six months. That index dropped from 36 to 27.4.

“Heading into 2021, consumers do not foresee the economy, nor the labor market, gaining strength,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement Tuesday.

I have more details for you here.

Grocery, retail workers urge reinstatement of hazard pay ahead of holiday rush: Organizations representing the interests of grocery and retail workers are calling on companies to reinstate hazard pay ahead of the expected holiday rush as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

The workers rights group United for Respect requested companies such as Walmart, Amazon and Petco pay its employees an extra $5 per hour throughout the rest of the pandemic in a Monday announcement.

In the spring, employees from many grocery and retail stores received hazard pay for working during the early stages of the pandemic, but most companies have since gotten rid of the extra pay. 

More info from the dream team of Justine Coleman here.


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