Dow Jones hits 30,000 points for first time in history amid vaccine hopes, Biden transition

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A person walks past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on Nov. 16, 2020 in New York City. The Dow Jones Industrial Average passed 30,000 points for the first time in history Tuesday. - ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images North America/TNS

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged past 30,000 points for the first time in history Tuesday, a day after the Trump administration finally agreed to start the transition process to President-elect Joe Biden.

Investors also appeared encouraged by a series of hopeful developments in the race for a coronavirus vaccine and news that Biden has selected former Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen as treasury secretary. The Brooklyn-born labor economist is well-liked by Democrats and Republicans and has been working on fiscal policy for decades.

The jump of nearly 500 points by midday Tuesday follows a month of impressive market gains sparked by surprisingly good results from vaccine developers in the U.S. and U.K., offering hope that a deadly pandemic that has devastated economies around the world could finally be coming to an end.

Both Pfizer and Moderna announced last week that their experimental COVID-19 shots were nearly 95% effective while British drugmaker AstraZeneca revealed Monday that a vaccine under development with Oxford University appears to be up to 90% effective.

But the latest sigh of relief on Wall Street came after President Trump finally gave Biden the green light to begin his transition to the White House, telling the head of the General Services Administration to free up federal resources to the Biden team. The unprecedented delay in formalizing the former vice president’s victory sparked fears that it could disrupt plans to distribute a potential vaccine and risk national security.

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden warned last week.

The S&P 500 index also soared Tuesday, rising more than 1.5% by midday.

In a brief public statement Tuesday afternoon, Trump sought to take credit for the stock market gains, noting that the Dow Jones has broken numerous records under his administration and calling the 30,000-mark a “sacred number.”

“Nobody thought they’d ever see it,” he told reporters.

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