S&P 500 creeps to record high on stimulus hopes

A modest late-day rally helped the S&P 500 set an all new record closing high.

The Dow rose 59 points. The S&P 500 was nudged 6 points higher. But the Nasdaq dipped 5 points.

Rhian Horgan is CEO of retirement planning app Silvur.

"What's continuing to drive sentiment today is a combination of good news around virus, but also questions around growth in the economy. And so when the continued questions of our own growth in the economy are out there, what we're seeing is this continued pressure on interest rates. The bad news, if you're a saver, is that means lower yields on your investments. But the good news is that for those of you that own homes, you are getting another bite at the apple to refinance that mortgage."

Signs of a slowdown in hiring kept a lid on market enthusiasm. Private companies hired a fewer-than-expected 307,000 new workers last month, according to payroll company ADP. November's hiring numbers are the latest sign of an economy that is losing momentum, with states adopting new restrictions as the global health crisis rages on.

Some investors hope weaker job numbers will put pressure on Congress to pass an economic stimulus package before the year is out.

On Wednesday testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin once again urged Congress to focus on getting help out as fast as possible - utilizing the already established Paycheck Protection Program or PPP.

"My single highest priority would be to activate the $140 billion in PPP funds that are not spent that we could immediately send out to the hardest hit small businesses, whose revenue is down dramatically. I also think Congress should consider extending some of the unemployment insurance programs that expire at the end of the year."

Pfizer was the big corporate story of the day. Its COVID-19 vaccine was given the green light for use in the U.K. - becoming the first of its kind to to get approval in any Western country. Pfizer climbed more than 3 percent to a 2-1/2 year high. Its German partner BioNTech gained nearly 6 percent on the U.S. stock market.

Video Transcript

[BELL RINGING]

- A modest late-day rally helped the S&P 500 set an all new record closing high. The Dow rose 59 points. The S&P 500 was nudged six points higher, but the NASDAQ dipped five. Rhian Horgan is CEO of retirement planning app Silvur.

RHIAN HORGAN: What's continuing to drive sentiment today is, you know, a combination of, you know, good news around a virus but also questions around growth in the economy. And so when the continued questions about growth in the economy are out there, what we're seeing is this continued pressure on interest rates. The bad news, if you're a saver, is that means lower yields on your investments. But the good news is that for those of you that owned homes, you are getting another bite at the apple to refinance that mortgage.

- Signs of a slowdown in hiring kept a lid on market enthusiasm. Private companies hired a fewer-than-expected 307,000 new workers last month, according to payroll company ADP. November's hiring numbers are the latest sign of an economy that is losing momentum with states adopting new restrictions as the global health crisis rages on. Some investors hope weaker job numbers will put pressure on Congress to pass an economic stimulus package before the year is out.

In Wednesday testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin once again urged Congress to focus on getting help out as fast as possible, utilizing the already established Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP.

STEVEN MNUCHIN: My single highest priority would be to activate the $140 billion in PPP funds that are not spent, that we could immediately send out to the hardest-hit small businesses, whose revenue is down dramatically. I also think Congress should consider extending some of the unemployment insurance programs that expire at the end of the year.

- Pfizer was the big corporate story of the day. Its COVID-19 vaccine was given the green-light for use in the UK, becoming the first of its kind to get approval in any Western country. Pfizer climbed more than 3% to a two and a half year high. Its German partner, BioNTech, gained nearly 6% on the US stock market.