Stocks close at new record highs as hope builds for COVID-19 relief

Stocks close at new record highs as hope builds for COVID-19 relief
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Stock markets on Friday closed at new highs, brushing aside signs of a slowing recovery as the prospects for a lame duck COVID-19 relief bill grow.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 249 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at a record 30,218.

The S&P set its own record, closing up 32 points, or 0.9 percent, at 3,699, while the NASDAQ closed at a new peak of 12,464, up 87 points, or 0.7 percent.


The Labor Department released data Friday showing that job growth had slowed to pre-pandemic levels, posting a net gain of just 245,000 jobs, lower than what had been expected. 

Analysts fret that the economy could fall into a double-dip recession as COVID-19 cases continue to spike. 

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSenate holds longest vote in history as Democrats scramble to save relief bill Ex-Trump appointee arrested in Capitol riot complains he won't be able to sleep in jail Biden helps broker Senate deal on unemployment benefits MORE called the report “grim,” and reiterated his call for Congress to immediately pass a relief bill centered around a $900 billion bipartisan compromise bill presented earlier in the week.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food Andrew Yang condemns attacks against Asian Americans Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell makes failed bid to adjourn Senate after hours-long delay Paul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Senate Democrats near deal to reduce jobless boost to 0 MORE (R-Ky.) both sounded hopeful notes on getting a deal done after having a direct conversation about it for the first time in months.

Biden added that any deal would need to be followed with additional action early next year.

Markets have been bullish since Pfizer and Moderna announced that their COVID-19 vaccines were highly effective in trials, and applied for emergency use authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration.