Dow poised to add to record rally as stock-market investors await jobs report

Dow poised to add to record rally as stock-market investors await jobs report

U.S. equity indexes were indicated higher early Friday, with the main benchmarks set to extend a rally to fresh records to start the year, as investors watch for the monthly report on the health the U.S. jobs market amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

How are stock benchmarks performing?

On Thursday, the market booked a quartet of record closing highs after Congress confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s election win:

  • The Dow

    rose 211.73 points, or 0.7%, at 31,041.13, closing at records.

  • The S&P 500 index

    closed up 55.65 points , or 1.5%, to reach a record at 3,803.79.

  • The Nasdaq Composite Index

    climbed 326.69 points, or 2.6%, to reach a milestone at 13,067.48, a closing high.

  • The Russell 2000 index

    gained 1.89%, its third consecutive rise of 1% or more.

What’s driving the market?

Investors are watching for the final reading on employment in the U.S. for 2020, with economists on average, surveyed by MarketWatch, estimating that the economy created 50,000 new jobs in December, but there are expectations that the report could show even more dismal results.

The report from the Labor Department, which is set to be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, comes after a private-sector employment reading out on Wednesday from ADP fell by 123,000 jobs in December, as consumer and business activity in some states was affected by lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19 which has worsened across much of the country.

Indeed, the U.S. registered record deaths on Thursday, with at least 4,111 lives on Thursday lost from COVID, representing the most in a single day since the start of the outbreak, according to a New York Times tracker, which also came amid a record 280,028 new cases of the disease.

The modest moves in Wall Street futures on Friday come after a dramatic political week that including wins by Democrats against incumbent Republicans in the U.S. Senate that shift the balance of power in Congress, along with rioters storming the Capitol building after being encouraged by President Donald Trump to try to block Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s November win.

The chaos in the Capitol has led to resignations by some members of Trump’s administration, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and the first lady’s chief of staff as well as a top official who dealt with China.

President Donald Trump, in a video released on Thursday night, finally acknowledged his election defeat and vowed a smooth transition of power.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer have called for Trump’s immediate removal from office, even with just a few days left before Biden is sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

Markets, however, have focused on the political wins by Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the Senate runoff elections on Tuesday, which raises the prospect of additional coronavirus fiscal relief measures and other legislation that could boost the U.S. economy after Biden becomes president in 12 days.

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