A recap of the past week in 3 short headlines.
1. Happy Holidays!
After record online Black Friday sales, markets have continued their ascent to new highs as we move into what should be an unusual holiday season amidst a global pandemic. On Friday, the Dow Jones closed above 30,000, a new milestone for the index. Overall, the Dow finished up 1.03%, the S&P 500 finished up 1.67%, while the NASDAQ finished up 2.12%.
Investors continue to monitor both the COVID-19 situation, which may provide a headwind for markets as states such as California announce new lockdowns. Markets also await news on when vaccines will be available – U.S. airlines have already begun preparing for distribution.
2. COVID-19 Update
Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed 65 million and are now on track for 70 million. The world’s population is around 7.8 billion; soon, one percent of the entire global population (78 million people) will have been infected with the virus.
The United States, India, and Brazil continue to lead in total cases, with the U.S. surpassing 14 million. Europe has also been hit quite hard, with France, the U.K., Italy, and Spain sitting at over 1.5 million cases. For now, the world waits patiently for vaccine approvals as well as distribution, which should begin in the next few weeks.
3. Tech M&A is Here to Stay
Salesforce recently announced that it will be acquiring messaging platform Slack for $27.7 billion. The Salesforce-Slack deal comes amidst a slew of acquisitions by other major technology companies flush with cash: Nvidia-Arm, AMD-Xilinx, Marvell-Inphi.
The attractiveness of companies positioned to flourish during and after COVID-19 has risen greatly in the past few months, given the critical role that technology has played throughout stay-at-home orders, with millions working remotely. Tech giants seeking to position themselves for a post-pandemic world have become the big spenders in 2020.