Market Snapshot: Dow briefly reclaims perch at 30,000, Nasdaq sets intraday record in early Black Friday action

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U.S. stocks rose early Friday, with gains proving enough to put the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 index at or near record territory, a day after the market was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq will close at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, while the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association recommends a 2 p.m. Eastern close for bond markets.

How are stock benchmarks performing?
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.19% was trading up 140 points at 30,010, a gain of 0.5%.
  • The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.28% was rising 13 points, or 0.4%, to reach 3,642, not far from a record intraday at 3,645.99.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.80% climbed 78 points to 12,172, a gain of 0.6%, extending the technology-laden index’s run to all-time highs.

On Wednesday:

  • The Dow closed down 173.77 points, 0.6%, at 29,872.47.
  • The S&P 500 index lost 5.76 points, 0.2%, ending at 3,629.65.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index added 57.62 points, or 0.5%, to book a record close at 12,094.40.
What’s driving the market?

U.S. equity markets were clambering higher Friday morning as investors parsed an update about the White House transition and news related to vaccines for COVID-19.

Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, also is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year for Americans though online sales are likely to replace in-store shopping to an even greater extent this year during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thanksgiving Day, President Donald Trump said he would leave the Oval Office if the Electoral College elects former Vice President Joe Biden as is expected on Dec. 14. The statement is arguably the most decisive acknowledgment of defeat for the 45th president, who has yet to formally concede the 2020 election that took place on Nov. 3, and has been called in favor of Biden. The Associated Press has declared Mr. Biden the winner of the election, with 306 electoral college votes to 232 for Mr. Trump.

Trading Friday also comes amid the persistent rise in COVID-19 cases, despite progress on remedies.

The global tally for confirmed cases of coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed above 61 million on Friday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 1.4 million. In the U.S., the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 surpassed 90,000 for the first time, as the pandemic loomed over the holiday.

The resurgence of the disease has prompted fresh restrictions on business and consumer activity in both the U.S. and other countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday the country’s partial lockdown would be extended until Dec. 20, while France will remain locked down until Dec. 15, raising concerns over the economic impact in the coming months ahead of a potential vaccine distribution.

Meanwhile, the market was keeping one eye on AstraZeneca  AZN, -0.79% shares which were under pressure in premarket trading on Friday as questions were raised over the recent results of its experimental vaccine, being developed by the University of Oxford.

The British drugmaker said earlier this week the vaccine was around 90% effective when volunteers were given a half-dose shot followed by a full dose a month later, but 62% effective when two full doses were given. Chief of the U.S. Operation “Warp Speed ” program for vaccine development, Moncef Slaoui, and others in the U.S. have expressed concern over aspects of the late-stage study, but British officials have supported the findings of the vaccine maker.

Which stocks are in focus?
  • Tiffany & Co. TIF, +0.13% said Friday it will hold a virtual special shareholder meeting on Dec. 30, to allow a vote on an amended merger agreement with France’s LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton SE MC, +0.12%. Shares of Tiffany were up less than 0.1%.
  • Tesla Inc. TSLA, +3.68%  is recalling 870 cars in China because of a fault in the roofs that could cause a part to fall off, AFP reported Friday, citing China’s market regulator. Tesla shares were climbing 2.7% early Friday.
  • Biogen Inc. BIIB, +0.11% and Sage Therapeutics Inc. SAGE, -3.93% said Friday they have agreed to jointly develop therapies to treat depression and movement disorders in a deal in which Biogen will give Sage $1.525 billion in cash. Shares of Biogen were up 0.3%, while Sage shares were off 0.9%.
  • Shares of Banco de Sabadell SA SAB, -9.82% slid 17% on Friday after the Spanish bank said merger talks with bigger rival BBVA SA BBVA, +3.59% had ended.
How are other assets performing?
  • The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.36% traded 0.2% higher, while U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UKX, +0.10% lost 0.4%.
  • In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +1.14% closed 11% higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, +0.28% booked a 0.3% gain, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 index NIK, +0.40% finished 0.4% higher on the session.
  • The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.16% was off 0.1% at 91.902.
  • U.S. crude-oil futures CL.1, -1.11% were off 1.1% at $45.25 a barrel.
  • Gold futures GCZ20, -1.47% GCG21, -1.48% were trading 1.6% lower, sliding below a key support level, to trade at $1,782.20 an ounce.

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