But after bottoming out in late March, and amid unprecedented action by the Federal Reserve to shore up the credit markets, stocks rebounded dramatically and have ripped off a series of record highs before the end of year.
Ahead of the final session of 2020, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite has gained 43.44% year to date, while the S&P 500 and Dow have risen15.52% and6.56%, respectively.
A rising worry in recent weeks is a new strain of the deadly virus that was first identified in the UK and has been confirmed in Colorado and California. UK officials have said the strain appears to be more contagious than earlier versions of the virus.
“With the flu vaccines, we actually have mutations occurring within the seasons and companies adjusting to that. So while I don’t want to downplay the seriousness of these mutant strains that are current with Covid-19, I think this is an area where we have a lot of expertise in, in industry and in science, and I think we’ll be able to tackle it,” Hartaj Singh, a biotechnology analyst at Oppenheimer, said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”
Investors will get a key piece of economic data on Thursday morning with the latest report on initial jobless claims. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones are expecting 828,000 initial claims, which would be a slight increase from the previous reading and still dramatically higher than before the pandemic.