Fri, 22 Jan 2021

NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stock markets defied the gloom and doom over the surge in Covid-19 cases, sending the three major indices modestly higher Thursday - with the Nasdaq Composite closing at a new record high.

Positive payroll data, and the fact Thursday was the last trading day ahead of the July 4 long weekend, helped spur optimism.

"There was a lot to like in economic data for the week," Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago told Reuters Thomson Thursday. "And there's still talk that there will be more stimulus from Washington after they get back from the Fourth of July break."

A major dampener is that Covid-19 cases are rising now in 37 states, with Fllorida on Thursday registering more than 10,000 cases in a single day.

"With the spikes we've seen in the larger states - Texas, California and Florida - those states have taken steps to turn back their reopening plans," Nolte said. "And that will slow the overall growth and consumer spending in those regions."

At the close of trading Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was ahead 92.39 points, or 0.36%, at 25,827.36.

The Standard and Poor's 500 added 14.15 points, or 0.45%, to 3,130.01.

The Nasdaq Composite climbed 53.00 points, or 0.52%, to 10,207.63, an historic high.

The U.S. dollar was mixed. The euro slipped to 1.1241. The British pound was slightly lower at 1.2471. The Japanese yen edged down to 107.52. The Swiss franc was slightly lower at 0.9454.

The Canadian dollar rose to 1.3563, the Australian dollar inched down to 0.6926, while the New Zealand dollar continued its recent run higher to close the New York session at around 0.6512.

Most major gains globally on Thursday were made in Europe and Asia.

Th German Dax accelerated 2.84%. In Paris, the CAC 40 climbed 2.49%. London's FTSE 100 rose 1.34%.

On Asian markets, China's Shanghai Composite rallied 64.59 points or 2.13% to 3,090.57.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 665.24 points or 2.72% to 25,092.43.

The Australian All Ordinaries added 101.30 points or 1.68% to 6,142.30.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 24.23 points or 0.11% to 22,145.96.

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