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Dow Tops 30,000 for the First Time Ever as Biden Transition Begins

Specialist Patrick King works at the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 23. Stocks rose in early trading Monday after investors received several pieces of encouraging news on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, tempering concerns over rising virus cases and business restrictions.

New York—Investors have a lot to be thankful for this holiday-shortened week — including the Dow passing the 30,000 milestone for the first time as stocks posted solid gains Tuesday to extend Monday's rally.

The Dow finished the day up nearly 455 points, or 1.5%. The blue chip index hit a new all-time high in the process, finally topping the 30,000 mark. The Dow is now up more than 5% in 2020.

The S&P 500 closed 1.6% higher and the Nasdaq ended 1.3% higher on Tuesday, and they too are not far from all-time highs. The S&P 500 has gained 12.5% this year, while the Nasdaq has surged 34%.

The latest catalyst: It appears that a formal transition from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden is finally underway.

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.

Some market strategists were quick to point out that the Dow's rise above 30,000 is a more psychological milestone than anything else. But it does show just how bullish investors are.

"Although 30,000 isn't much different than 29,999, there is something special about those big milestone numbers. This is yet another reminder of how far stocks and the economy have come since the depths of March," said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist for LPL Financial, in a report.

Along those lines, the CNN Business Fear & Greed Index is now showing levels of Extreme Greed.

It's also worth noting that Tuesday's rally comes as many investors get ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. The stock market in the US is closed Thursday and only open for a half day of trading on Black Friday.

So it may be a mistake to make too much of this week's market moves. It may not be solely about Biden, Yellen and the transition.

"It's also important to keep in mind we're in for a holiday period in the US — and lighter volumes, news flow and attendance could certainly have an impact as well," said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at StoneX, in a report.

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