US stocks hit record highs after Trump signs COVID relief bill

US investors cheer the passage of the latest round of coronavirus relief aid, which has restored some of the optimism that drove global stocks to a record this month.

The S&P 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite touched all-time highs following US President Donald Trump’s surprise approval of the COVID-19 relief and government funding package [File: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg]

U.S. equities rallied to records after President Donald Trump backed away from earlier threats and signed a coronavirus aid package.

The S&P 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite touched all-time highs following Trump’s surprise approval of the combined $2.3 trillion Covid-19 relief and government funding package. Germany’s DAX Index also rose to a record. Treasuries dipped and the dollar strengthened.

Bitcoin retreated after a rally over the holiday pushed it past $28,000 for the first time.

U.S. investors cheered the U.S. aid package, restoring some of the optimism that drove global stocks to a record this month even as the pandemic escalated. In approving the bill, Trump also demanded a vote in Congress to replace the $600 in direct stimulus payments with $2,000 — a non-binding request that is unlikely to pass both chambers. Still, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. upgraded its first-quarter U.S. economic growth forecast because of the measure.

“The new law is large enough to make a significant difference for individuals,” Dennis DeBusschere, head of portfolio strategy at Evercore ISI, said in a note to clients. “Ignore the noise about the ‘disappointing’ checks and focus on the setup for a robust economic recovery in 2021, particularly in the services sector.”

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. tumbled in Hong Kong despite boosting its share buyback program to $10 billion, amid ongoing concern over China’s inquiry into alleged monopolistic practices. Regulators over the weekend ordered affiliate Ant Group Co. to return to its roots as a provider of payments services, a development that threatens to clip its growth.

On the coronavirus front, more restrictions are being imposed to fight the spread of the new, more infectious strain. Indonesia imposed a temporary ban on all foreigners from visiting the country, while Taiwan will increase the quarantine period for flight crews to seven days. Meanwhile, the European Union kicked off a continent-wide vaccination campaign less than a week after clearing a shot developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE.

Elsewhere, the pound weakened after the U.K. last week clinched a historic Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • U.S. pending home sales and goods trade balance data are due Wednesday.
  • U.S. initial jobless claims figures are published Thursday.
  • Most global stock markets are closed Friday for New Year’s Day.

These are the main moves in markets:


  • The S&P 500 Index rose 0.9% as of 3:33 p.m. in New York.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.7%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.1%.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index slipped 0.2%.



  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%.
  • The euro rose 0.1% to $1.2204.
  • The British pound decreased 0.9% to $1.344.
  • The Japanese yen weakened 0.4% to 103.85 per dollar.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries increased less than one basis point to 0.93%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to -0.57%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield was unchanged at 0.25%.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.2% to $47.65 a barrel.
  • Gold fell 0.5% to $1,873.76 an ounce.
Source: Bloomberg