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Stocks deliver gains ahead of Christmas

Jonathan Garber
·2 min read

U.S. stock indexes inched higher Thursday in a holiday-shortened session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 70 points, or 0.23%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose by 0.36% and 0.26%, respectively. All three of the major averages, which will remain closed Friday for Christmas, finished just below record highs.

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Looking at stocks, Moderna Inc. expects its COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the new, fast-spreading coronavirus strain that was detected in the U.K.

American Airlines Group is moving ahead with the recall of more than 8,000 flight attendants despite President Trump’s hesitancy to sign the relief bill, which he said contained “wasteful and unnecessary spending.”

Elsewhere, Alibaba Group was under pressure after a Chinese regulator announced an anti-monopoly investigation into the e-commerce giant. Other Chinese e-commerce companies, including JD.com, were also trading lower.

In deals, a group of institutional investors led by Apollo Group agreed to buy a 49.9% stake in Anheuser-Busch InBev’s U.S.-based can plants for $3 billion. AB InBev, which is using the proceeds to pay down debt and create shareholder wealth, has the right to buy the stake back five years after the deal closes.

Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 2 cents to $48.14 per barrel, and gold rallied $5.10 to $1,883.20 per ounce.

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In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.1% as the U.K. and E.U. neared a deal on Brexit and France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.1%. Germany's DAX 30 was closed for the holiday.

Asian markets ended mixed with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edging up 0.16% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 advancing 0.54% while China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.57%.

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