Stocks open flat after Congress passes Covid relief bill

Stocks open flat after Congress passes Covid relief bill

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U.S. stocks held steady on Tuesday after Congress approved a long-delayed coronavirus relief package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped just 60 points, while the S&P 500 was little changed. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.3%, supported by a 2% jump in Apple shares.

Congressional leaders attached $900 billion in pandemic aid to a $1.4 trillion measure to fund the government through Sept. 30. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law in the coming days, weeks before he will leave office. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday that Americans could receive their stimulus checks in a matter of days.

“The passage of this package only solidifies that there are massive structural tailwinds on the economy and markets as we enter 2021, which is longer-term positive for cyclicals and value styles (and the markets more broadly),” Tom Essaye, founder of Sevens Report, said in a note on Tuesday.

The market started the holiday week on a sour note as fears about a new variant of Covid-19 in the U.K. emerged. Many European countries implemented travel restrictions on visitors from the U.K., and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for the United States to take similar steps.

However, many experts, including those from the World Health Organization, said on Monday that the coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna would likely be effective against the new variant and that Covid was mutating at a slower pace than the seasonal flu.

“New COVID-19 variant unlikely to impact near-term therapeutics, return to normal,” Geoff Meacham, Bank of America research analyst said in a note, we don’t expect this new variant to derail ongoing treatment efforts — including vaccines.”

Still, many believe volatility will remain elevated into the new year.

Jonathan Golub, Credit Suisse’s chief U.S. equity strategist, said on “Closing Bell” that he expected continued choppiness in the economy and markets in the months ahead before a surge in consumer spending in the middle of 2021.

“I don’t think that there’s a smooth, easy straight-line story on this,” Golub said. “I think for the next three or four months, the reopening process is going to be sloppy.”

On the data front, the final reading on third-quarter gross domestic product came to a growth of 33.4% on an annualized basis, compared to 33.1% expected.

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Credit: CNBC

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