August 6, 2020

Bill Hastie |

The U.S. equity markets posted their fourth straight day of gains boosted by optimism of a new coronavirus relief deal.  The Dow surged 373.05 points, or 1.39%, while the S&P 500 gained 21.26 points, or 0.64%.  The NASDAQ Composite closed up 57.23 points, or .052%, at a new record close, its 31st record close this year and its sixth straight daily gain.

On the year, the Dow is down 4.66% and is 8.01% below its intraday all-time on February 12.  The S&P 500 remains 1.94% below its record high set on February 19.

Market futures turned positive this morning when it was reported that 1.19 million American workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits for the week ended August 1.  This was almost 200,000 fewer claims than analysts expected.

The markets have risen over the last four days as investors seem to be making the bet that lawmakers will come to an agreement on the terms of a coronavirus relief package.  The White House yesterday moved to increase pressure on Democrats to get the deal done, saying they are prepared to walk away from negotiations and use executive actions by the President if an agreement is not in sight by the week’s end.

“The fact that the job market hasn’t picked up so fast also means there is a greater chance of this fiscal stimulus getting passed,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.  “Even if the economy goes well, investors will still be asking for the Federal Reserve and the government to have their hands on the market.”