Wall Street has set record closing highs with stimulus prospects and ongoing vaccine deployment boosting investor optimism over the pace of economic recovery from the pandemic recession.
All three major US stock indexes advanced on Monday, with the S&P 500 and Dow posting their sixth consecutive gains, their longest winning streak since August.
Small-caps, often seen as “re-opening plays”, outperformed their larger peers.
“Investors are starting to play the economy opening up and the vaccine starting work,” said Paul Nolte at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
“And maybe they can go to a baseball game this summer.”
Still, the extended rally provides some cause for concern.
“Stocks have been over-valued for much of the past year,” Nolte added. “And the things we’re seeing now, with GameStop and Bitcoin, those are signs of speculation, not investing.”
Oil prices rose to their highest in over a year due to supply cuts and hopes for a stimulus-driven demand rebound, giving a solid boost to energy stocks.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said if Congress approves the president’s $US1.9 trillion ($2.5tr) fiscal aid package, the US could return to full employment next year.
That package came closer to passage on Friday when lawmakers approved a budget outline that would enable Democrats to muscle it through Congress without Republican support.
Vaccine deployment, meanwhile, pushes ahead in US, with at least 32,780,860 doses administered so far, and new infections trending lower, on average.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 236.78 points, or 0.76 per cent, to 31,385.02, the S&P 500 gained 28.75 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 3915.58 and the Nasdaq Composite added 131.35 points, or 0.95 per cent, to 13,987.64.
The fourth-quarter reporting season has passed the halfway mark, with 294 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 83 per cent have beaten consensus estimates, according to Refinitiv.
Analysts see aggregate fourth-quarter S&P earnings posting a year-on-year gain of 2.4 per cent, a stark reversal from the 10.3 per cent annual decline seen at the beginning of the year, per Refinitiv.
Walt Disney, Cisco Systems and General Motors advanced ahead of their earnings reports this week.
Bitcoin touched a record high after Tesla announced it had invested around $US1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency and would begin accepting payment in Bitcoin.
“This is really … almost a seminal moment in terms of where we are, in terms of Bitcoin from a transaction perspective, and the fact now Tesla and Musk are putting their name behind,” said Daniel Ives at Wedbush Securities in New Jersey.
“I think this is really an eyebrow-raising move.”
Tesla inched up, while shares of cryptocurrency miners Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Group soared.