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 Biden 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 Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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.

Tags coronavirus relief Dow Jones Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Wall Street

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