U.S. stocks open higher, following global markets upward

Stocks rose in early trading today, as investors continue to close out positions for the New Year and after President Donald Trump signed into law the $900 billion coronavirus economic stimulus package. PHOTO CREDIT: Koji Sasahara

Stocks rose in early trading today, as investors continue to close out positions for the New Year and after President Donald Trump signed into law the $900 billion coronavirus economic stimulus package.

Wall Street set fresh records on Monday after Trump opted not to veto the bill, helping to stanch uncertainty as governments reinstate pandemic-fighting travel and business curbs weighing on global economic activity.

Investors and economists have been pushing for the support for months. It combines $900 billion in COVID-19 aid with a $1.4 trillion spending bill and reams of other legislation on taxes, energy, education and health care.

The hope is that the measures will help tide the economy over until vaccinations can bring surging infections under control, allowing precautions to be relaxed and life to begin returning to normal.

The only other pending set of business from Washington is whether Senate Republicans will pass President Trump’s push to get $2,000 stimulus checks to Americans instead of the current $600.

The S&P 500 was up 0.4%, with health care, real estate and energy stocks leading the way. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 80 points, or 0.3%, to 30,485 and the Nasdaq was up 0.2%.

Trading has been thin as a tumultuous 2020 draws to a close. The market will be closed for New Year’s Day Friday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.7% to 27,568.15, the first time it has traded above 27,000 since August 1990, according to FactSet. The market hit its all-time peak close of 38,915.87 on Dec. 29, 1989.

The benchmark was buoyed by strong gains in heavyweights like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which surged 4.6%, apparel maker Fast Retailing, also up 4.6%, and technology and energy company SoftBank, which gained 4.2%.