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Dow Jones crests 30,000 points on vaccine hopes, Biden transition

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded above 30,000 points for the first time Tuesday as investors were encouraged by the latest progress on developing coronavirus vaccines and news that the transition of power in the U.S. to President-elect Joe Biden will finally begin. Traders were also encouraged by news that Biden had selected Janet Yellen, a widely respected former Federal Reserve chair, as treasury secretary. The Dow rose more than 400 points, or 1.4%, to trade just over 30,000 late Tuesday morning. The S&P 500 index, which has a far greater impact on 401(k) accounts than the Dow, rose 1.3%.

News came Monday that the General Services Administration is starting the so-called ascertainment process, which allows Trump administration officials to coordinate with the Biden team. And that follows more promising coronavirus vaccine developments on Monday, as well as sources confirming to CNN that former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will be Biden’s nominee for Treasury Secretary.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both higher on Tuesday as well. So was the Russell 2000, an index that is home to smaller American companies that are expected to benefit from a rebound in the US economy.

Oil prices rallied as well, lifting big energy stocks like Occidental Petroleum (OXY) and Marathon Oil (MRO). 

Shares of travel related companies, such as airlines, cruise lines and hotels, also continued to rebound due to hopes of a more normal economy in 2021. Shares of Carnival (CCL), Delta (DAL) and Marriott (MAR) were all higher in early trading.

The euphoric trading frenzy for several momentum investments continued as well Tuesday. 

Tesla (TSLA), which is set to be added to the S&P 500 next month, surged to a new record high and is now worth more than $500 billion. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now worth as much as Bill Gates.

Cannabis stocks Aurora (ACB), Tilray (TLRY), Canopy Growth (CGC) and Cronos (CRON) also soared again Tuesday, extending their stellar run this month as investors bet that a Biden administration could seek to decriminalize marijuana at a federal level. Several more states also legalized recreational cannabis.

And cryptocurrency darling bitcoin continued to move closer to a record high. Bitcoin prices were hovering around $19,400 Tuesday — just below their December 2017 peak of $19,783.

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