Dow, S&P 500 close out historic 2020 at records; Nasdaq Composite clinches best annual return in 11 years


Equity benchmarks finished higher Thursday, the last trading session in 2020 to end the year on a strong note after plunging into a bear market in February and March as the COVID-19 pandemic threw the global economy into a deep recession. The promise of vaccines and outsize fiscal and monetary-policy aid helped to foster buying over the past several months from the market’s lows in March. On Thursday, U.S. data showed first-time jobless benefit claims unexpectedly declined by 19,000 to 787,000 last week. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast initial claims to rise to 835,000. State continuing jobless claims dropped 103,000 to 5.22 million. The Dow Jones Industrial Average [: DJIA] rose nearly 200 points, or 0.7%, to end at around 30,606 (on a preliminary basis), marking a record close for the blue-chip index, while the S&P 500 index
notched its own record closing high, ending up 0.6% to 3,756. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed just shy of a record, up 0.1% at 12,888. However, the Nasdaq Composite registered its best annual gain since 2009, up 43.6%, FactSet data show.


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