Roundup: U.S. equities post weekly gains as traders weigh stimulus, coronavirus impact


NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. equities advanced in the week as investors continued to gauge economic implications from soaring coronavirus cases while closely following new developments regarding a fresh round of U.S. COVID-19 aid package.

For the week ending Friday, the Dow and the S&P 500 climbed 1 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, while the Nasdaq gained 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly decline of 5.7 percent.

Wall Street's three major averages ended Friday's session on an upbeat note, as investors shrugged off a weaker-than-expected November U.S. jobs report.

The 30-stock index jumped nearly 250 points to 30,218.26, the S&P 500 was up 0.88 percent to 3,699.12 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq increased 0.7 percent to 12,464.23. All the three major indexes posted intraday and closing record highs during the session.

The market rally came despite data showing U.S. employment growth slowed last month amid soaring COVID-19 infections.

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, following a downwardly revised 610,000 in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, well below a Dow Jones consensus estimate of 440,000. The unemployment rate edged down to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent in October, in line with expectations.

The figures indicated the U.S. job market and the economy are faltering in face of a surging pandemic.

Some traders viewed the weaker-than-expected numbers as a positive because it could pressure U.S. lawmakers to move forward with additional fiscal stimulus, according to experts.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday signaled willingness to embrace a trimmed-down COVID-19 relief bill, urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to join negotiations.

"In the spirit of compromise we believe the bipartisan framework introduced by Senators yesterday should be used as the basis for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement, referring to a 908-billion-U.S.-dollar bipartisan bill.

"Of course, we and others will offer improvements, but the need to act is immediate and we believe that with good-faith negotiations we could come to an agreement," they said.

The Democrats-controlled House of Representatives passed a 2.2-trillion-dollar relief bill in early October, but Senate Republicans have recently been pushing for a 500-billion-dollar package. On Tuesday, McConnell quickly rejected the 908-billion-dollar bipartisan plan after its release.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, among others, has repeatedly called for more fiscal stimulus to boost the virus-ravaged economy over the next few months.

"The risk of overdoing it is less than the risk of under doing it," Powell said at a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

The Fed chief also called the U.S. economic outlook "extraordinarily uncertain," noting the rise in new COVID-19 cases "is concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months."

The United States has registered more than 14.5 million COVID-19 cases in total with the death toll exceeding 280,000 as of Saturday afternoon, showed a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

"With the Dow crossing 30,000 or hovering around this level, do not focus too much on what that means for the markets and economy or where we go from here," Mitch Zacks, CEO at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note Saturday, commenting on recent market movements.

"Instead of focusing on this one number, I recommend focusing on key data points and economic indicators that could positively impact your investments in the long-term," he added.

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