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US stocks hit historic high as Biden begins White House transition

Dow up by 30,000 points for the first time ever as US political uncertainty declines and confidence grows that coronavirus vaccines could soon be available

Illustrative: Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day, March 16, 2020. (AP/Craig Ruttle)
Illustrative: Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP/Craig Ruttle)

LONDON, United Kingdom — US stocks reached a historic milestone Tuesday as hurdles were removed from President-elect Joe Biden’s path to the White House in January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 30,000 points for the first time ever as US political uncertainty declined and confidence grew that vaccines for the coronavirus could soon be available around the world.

In addition to news that the administration of US President Donald Trump was starting to work with Biden’s team, the “Keystone State” of Pennsylvania certified his victory there, all but ensuring that Biden would be officially declared the next US leader.

“Signs of movement in the US political deadlock have combined with the steady drip of vaccine news to underpin” stocks, commented Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG trading group.

US President-elect Joe Biden smiles as he speaks at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware, November 10, 2020 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

By late afternoon Tuesday, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was up by 1.5 percent at a record 30,026.68 points.

“What’s prevailing in the stock market right now… is a belief that only good outcomes will prevail, whether we are talking about leadership transitions, the coronavirus, the economy, earnings, interest rates, inflation, and the performance of the stock market itself,” Patrick J. O’Hare at Briefing.com said.

On Monday, Trump eased some lingering post-election uncertainty by saying the agency that works with incoming administrations would now work to assist Biden’s team.

While the broad consensus has been that Trump would eventually admit defeat, there have been concerns about his refusal to allow Biden to begin work on pandemic response measures and national security matters.

The news came as Biden tipped former Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary, a move welcomed by traders.

The pairing of Yellen and current Fed chief Jerome Powell “is an exceptionally dovish combination,” said Axi strategist Stephen Innes.

“Both have the same views on jobs; they have witnessed policy mistakes like taper tantrum and gnarly market impacts of early rate hikes. There will be a mutual agreement for lower for a very, very long time. And that cohesion will be good for the market in general,” Innes added.

Former fed chair Janet Yellen speaks with FOX Business Network guest anchor Jon Hilsenrath in the Fox Washington bureau, August 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

In Europe, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index closed with a gain of 1.6 percent, with airlines boosted by news that England will loosen quarantine rules for travelers from abroad.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 added 1.3 percent, as investors reacted also to data showing that Germany’s economy grew by a better-than-expected 8.5 percent in the third quarter.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo soared more than two percent as investors returned from a long weekend, while Sydney was more than one percent higher.

Singapore, Seoul, Mumbai, Wellington and Jakarta also chalked up healthy gains.

Hong Kong could only eke out a small rise after a local spike in coronavirus infections forced leaders to consider imposing fresh containment measures.

Oil prices reached their highest levels since the first wave of the pandemic hit.

And bitcoin traded above $19,000 for the first time in almost three years, closing in on its all-time high of just under $20,000.

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