Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

The Stock Market Celebrates Biden’s Cabinet Picks

The stock market posted record-breaking gains this week on the news of Joe Biden’s transition and corporate-friendly cabinet picks. These market gains mean more profits for capitalists and investors as the economic crisis continues for the working class.

Facebook Twitter Share
Nicole Pereira | Credit: AP

This week, Wall Street stocks traded at record heights. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a milestone 30,000 points, surpassing the previous record set on November 16. The other two main U.S. stock indexes likewise posted gains: the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite increased by 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq closed just shy of its record in early September. These market gains will profit capitalists and investors while the working class continues to be hit by the economic crisis and face austerity budgets. 

President Trump took credit for the stock market gains in a one-minute press conference on Tuesday, saying, “That’s a sacred number, 30,000, nobody thought they’d ever see it.”

Brent Crude, the most widely used benchmark for oil prices, increased 3.5 percent to its highest point since March, at $48.26 a barrel at time of writing. Oil prices have plummeted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and these increases may signal a reversal of this downward trend and a possible recovery. 

Gold, which investors usually resort to in moments of uncertainty, fell by 1.7 percent to $1,806 per troy ounce. The dollar, another safe-haven asset, fell 0.3 percent. 

Stock prices also made gains in Europe. The region’s Stoxx 600 finished up 0.9 percent, London’s FTSE 100 rose 1.6 percent and Germany’s Xetra Dax increased 1.3 percent. In China, the CSI 300 index of stocks traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen closed down 0.6 percent, while Japan’s Topix rose to its highest level in two years, up 2 percent, after traders returned from a long weekend.

Several factors have contributed to the markets’ rise this month. Biden’s victory in the U.S. elections have helped assuage investors’ fears of uncertainty. Stocks have also been buoyed by promising news about vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca, raising the prospects for the economy returning to normal next year. 

You might be interested in: No Return to Normal for the Capitalist Economy

The record increases this week are a reaction to the start of the formal transition to the Biden presidency. Although President Trump has not formally conceded the election, General Services Administration (GSA) head Emily Murphy gave the Biden team the green light on Monday, November 23, to begin coordinating with federal agencies. There is also enthusiasm for Biden’s transition team and recently announced Cabinet picks. Predictably, these are made up of business and capitalist elites, and familiar faces from past administrations. 

Among the members of Biden’s transition team are Cecilia Muñoz, an Obama-era defender of deportations and family separation; former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who would lead a technology industry task force for the Biden-Harris administration; former P&G CEO Bob McDonald; and Republican Cindy McCain, widow of Senator John McCain. 

Biden has also signaled continuity with the Obama administration with his Cabinet picks. He plans to nominate Janet Yellen, former head of the Federal Reserve, to be Secretary of the Treasury, and Antony Blinken, a long-time Biden foreign policy aide and “centrist with a streak of interventionism” as Secretary of State. Alejandro Mayorkas, former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has been tapped to head the department. 

Dan Scott, director of investment at Vontobel Wealth Management, explained that Yellen heading the Treasury is “a huge plus for markets,” and added that “she’s highly competent and has a long history in basically understanding what monetary policy can do for the recovery, and the limitations of monetary policy.”

Despite Wall Street’s record-breaking rises, the crisis continues. Coronavirus infections are rising across Europe and the United States, spurring new shutdowns. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva warned at the virtual G20 meeting this weekend that “while a medical solution is now in sight, the economic path ahead remains difficult and prone to setbacks.” The agency predicts that the world economy will contract by a record 4.4 percent this year. 

This week’s stock surges are unlikely to be felt by the working class. Far from being a sign that conditions are improving for the masses, stock market gains mean more profits for capitalists and investors. The economic downturn also all but guarantees austerity budgets across the United States, and many cities and states are already facing substantial cuts

First published in Spanish on November 24 in La Izquierda Diario.

Translated by Otto Fors

Facebook Twitter Share

La Izquierda Diario Argentina

Our Argentinian sister site, part of the international network of La Izquierda Diario

United States

What Student Activists Walking Out Over Covid Safety Can Learn From Student Movements Around the World

There is a long international history of student strikes. The recent student movements in Chile, Brazil, and elsewhere can offer ideas and inspiration to the thousands of K-12 students organizing school walkouts to demand remote learning and other safety protocols during the current Covid wave.

Rose Lemlich

January 22, 2022

CUNY’s Reopening Plan Is a Nightmare for Adjuncts and Students

As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to surge, the inflexible reopening plan at the City University of New York (CUNY) has led to a wave of course cancellations and layoffs that have hit adjunct faculty and students especially hard.

The Right to Vote Is a Conquest of the Working Class. That’s Why We Defend It

The United States is undergoing the most concerted effort to undermine voting rights than at any time since the end of Reconstruction after the Civil War. The Left has a responsibility to mount just as strong an effort to defend these rights, which workers and people of color have shed blood to win.

Scott Cooper

January 22, 2022

Mass Action Will Protect and Expand Our Abortion Rights, Not Politicians and PACs

In 2004, more than a million people protested Bush-era abortion policies in a march on Washington DC. Where are the organizers of the March for Women’s Lives seventeen years later as we face the biggest threat to abortion rights since the passage of Roe v. Wade?

Cal Berry

January 22, 2022

MOST RECENT

Multinational in Peru Makes the Environmental Disaster Caused by Oil Spill Even Worse

A volcanic eruption in the Tonga Sea caused an oil spill in Peru on Saturday, January 15, and the effects on the coastal area have been severe. The bosses have turned a blind eye, and the Peruvian government has not acted with the necessary speed.

Cecilia Quiroz

January 22, 2022

One Year Later: Biden Is Still No Friend of Labor

Joe Biden claims to be one of the most pro-labor presidents to ever hold office, but while he has talked a good game, he has conspicuously failed to deliver for working people and unions. Worse, Biden’s embrace of labor was and remains a cynical, and so far highly successful, attempt to co-opt and further tie unions to the Democratic Party.

James Dennis Hoff

January 21, 2022

Capitalists Only “Trust the Science” When It Suits Their Agenda

Trusting science should not mean trusting in the benevolence of the ruling class.

Olivia Wood

January 21, 2022

CUNY Rank-and-File Activists Fight for Safe Reopening

At the City University of New York (CUNY) tens of thousands of students are petitioning for more online classes, and in-person sections are getting canceled left and right due to low enrollment, leading dozens of part-time faculty to lose their jobs. Dissatisfied with the union leadership’s response, rank-and-file union members are taking matters into their own hands.

Left Voice

January 21, 2022