S&P 500 and Nasdaq Hit Records in Broad Wall Street Rally

Wall Street kicks off December with a broad rally following the best monthly performance for equities since April.
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Stocks finished higher Tuesday with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both closing at records as Wall Street came off its best monthly performance since April.

The S&P finished up 1.13% to 3,662, and the Nasdaq rose 1.28% to 12,355. Both indexes also posted intraday all-time highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 185 points, or 0.63%, to 29,823. 

At one point in Tuesday's session, the Dow industrials were up as much as 1.5% to past 30,000. The Nasdaq was up as much as 1.7%.

President-elect Joe Biden urged Congress to pass a new stimulus bill as he unveiled his economic team, including his selection of Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as nominee for treasury secretary.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a bipartisan stimulus proposal that had been unveiled Tuesday by members of the GOP-controlled Senate and Democratic-held House. 

The legislation would provide $908 billion in aid and shield businesses from coronavirus lawsuits for a few months. But McConnell told reporters "we just don’t have time to waste time” in response to the proposal, according to CNBC.

Stocks declined Monday but only after the S&P 500 recorded a gain of 10.8% in November, its biggest monthly gain since April. The Dow posted its best month since 1987, up 11.8%, and the Nasdaq also soared 11.8% during November.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in testimony Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee, said that economic prospects are “extraordinarily uncertain” after the pace of improvement moderated.

While calling progress made on the development of coronavirus vaccine "very positive," the central bank chairman also said a resurgence of the virus in the U.S. and globally was "concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months. 

"A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”

Powell's cautious assessment, as well as the continued gridlock in Washington on another stimulus package, has investors betting the Fed will take the lead on supporting the U.S. economy until a vaccine can be widely distributed.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report finished up 3.1% on Tuesday following an announcement that shares of the electric vehicle company will be added to the S&P 500 index in a single tranche on Dec. 21. 

The move will come despite concern about the potential for trading volatility as funds shuffle their holdings to add shares of the electric-vehicle company to their portfolios.

Tesla, with a market cap of more than $555 billion, joins the index as its seventh largest component, between Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) - Get Report and Visa  (V) - Get Report.

Oil prices declined Tuesday after OPEC leaders, as well as non-member allies such as Russia, delayed a decision on output cuts until Thursday after failing to reach a consensus during a virtual session on Monday.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, fell 0.62% to $45.06 a barrel.