Stocks pulled back slightly from their record levels Monday as Wall Street put a quiet coda on one of its most rocking months in decades. The S&P 500 fell 0.5%, but the benchmark index still clocked a surge of 10.8% for November, its biggest monthly gain since April, as investors latch onto hopes that the economy will get closer to normal next year as coronavirus vaccines begin to be distributed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has far less impact on 401(k) accounts than the S&P 500 does, had its best month since 1987, the AP reports. On Monday, the Dow fell 271.73 points, or 0.91%, to 29,638.64. The S&P 500 slipped 16.72 points to 3,621.61, and the Nasdaq dipped 7.11 points, or 0.06%, to 12,198.74.
Several big forces are behind this month's surge, beginning with the clearing of some of the uncertainty that had dogged markets leading into the US elections. Now, Joe Biden is firmly in place as the president-elect in Wall Street’s eyes, and investors have avoided their worst-case scenario of weeks or months of limbo with an unknown winner. Investors also found encouragement in prospects that Washington will remain under divided political control. A split government would mean low tax rates and other pro-business policies could remain the status quo. But the turbocharger for the market’s move higher has been a huge dose of hope as pharmaceutical companies come closer to delivering vaccines to a world beaten down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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