Last week saw solid gains and new record highs for all the major markets. The NASDAQ led with a weekly return of 2.1%, followed by the S&P at 1.7% and the Dow Jones at 1.1%. Continued optimism over a recovering economy and the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine fueled the returns. The potential for a second COVID relief bill seemed to gain traction through bipartisan support. This $900 billion plan would provide relief for small businesses, health care facilities and workers, and reinstate unemployment benefits. The passage of such a bill would likely buoy market returns.
A few areas of caution also emerged last week: while our economy continues to add jobs, the pace of job growth is slowing. Unemployment has fallen to 6.7%, but that could be partly due to fewer people actively looking for work. Questions also arose regarding how quickly pharmaceutical companies can manufacture and distribute their vaccines once approved.
The holiday shopping season is in full swing and so far, spending appears to be robust. Looking forward we will continue to track the progress of a COVID relief bill and the pace of our economic recovery.