The coronavirus wrought economic devastation on America when it first began to spread in early 2020, as evidenced by steep declines in the stock market, and there were very real concerns that the pandemic could result in a recession — or worse.
That’s not what ended up happening, though, and in a tweet Thursday, President Donald Trump cheered the news that the final day of trading for 2020 had resulted in record highs at closing.
“Finished off the year with the highest Stock Market in history. Setting records with your [401(k)s], just like I said you would,” Trump announced. “Congratulations to all!”
Finished off the year with the highest Stock Market in history. Setting records with your 401k’s, just like I said you would. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2021
Closing at record highs
According to MarketWatch, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished out the final day of 2020 up nearly 200 points, or about 0.7%, to a near-record high of around 30,606 points.
The S&P 500 also closed on the day up by about 0.6%, for a record high of 3,756 to end the year.
The Nasdaq Composite Index, meanwhile, closed just shy of a record high at 12,888, but it was a historic year nonetheless, as the index had its best annual gain since the 2009 recession with a whopping 43.6% jump, MarketWatch reported.
Those positive year-end gains are even more astounding when compared to the rather grim predictions of economists early last year, not to mention the fiscal headwinds faced along the way by virtue of stay-at-home orders and mandatory business closures across much of the country.
Unemployment, vaccines, and federal stimulus
According to CNBC, the big numbers can be attributed in large part to better-than-expected employment numbers recently released by the Labor Department.
The economic “experts” had predicted a rise in the numbers of first-time filers for unemployment benefits, due in part to the resumption of strict business closures in response to surges in COVID-19 infections, but the number of first-time filers actually decreased in comparison to the week prior.
Other significant factors behind the stock market gains, according to reports, were the continued distribution of new vaccines to combat the coronavirus, as well as the passing of another federal relief and stimulus package that was signed into law by President Trump.
It all adds up to good news for Americans headed into 2021 — and it’s a welcome change after what was an exceptionally volatile year on Wall Street.