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The Dow Just Capped Off Its Best Month in 33 Years — Here’s What Happened

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 200 points to end November — but it still posted its biggest monthly gain in 33 years.

At 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday, the blue-chip index dropped 271.73 points, or 0.91%, to close at 29,638.64. It soared nearly 12% in November to mark its best month since January 1987. The S&P 500 also slid 0.46%, or 16.72 points to 3,621.63, while the Nasdaq Composite sank dipped 0.1%, or 7.11 points, to 12,198.74. Still, both indices recorded their best month since April, when the coronavirus pandemic took hold across the United States.

Throughout the month, investors appeared to cheer progress in the fight against COVID-19 as pharmaceutical giants touted the efficacy of their vaccine candidates. Today, reports emerged that pharmaceutical company Moderna intends to apply to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization of its vaccine, which it said was 94.1% effective at preventing the novel coronavirus and 100% effective at preventing severe cases of the illness.

What’s more, data today from a number of research firms painted an encouraging picture for retail during the unprecedented holiday shopping season: According to Adobe Analytics, Americans spent about $9 billion shopping via websites on Black Friday — a 22% gain from the previous peak of $7.4 billion last year — and Cyber Monday is expected to be the largest online sales day in the U.S., with spending of between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion.

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The celebration on Wall Street, however, comes as the outbreak continues to surge in certain parts of the country. More than 13.5 million people in the U.S. have now been sickened by COVID-19, and at least 267,600 deaths have been logged by health authorities. Hospitalizations are also climbing at record rates, and restrictions have emerged once again in major metropolitan cities including California and New York.

Over the past few weeks, jobless claims have hovered below the 800,000 mark but remain exceedingly high compared to the number of applications prior to the pandemic. With November’s jobs report expected on Friday, economists are forecasting a downtick in the unemployment rate — a sign that the labor market is continuing to heal, albeit slowly.

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