Jim Zarroli

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NOEL KING, HOST:

No one predicted what a tumultuous, stomach-churning year 2020 would be for the stock markets. And few foresaw how well it would end up.

Here are the highlights:

Stocks in meltdown

Between Feb. 12 and March 23, the Dow lost a stunning 37% of its value.

Economic benefits for victims of the pandemic will expire soon if Congress and the president don't act to extend or replace them.

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SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

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NOEL KING, HOST:

It took months, but late last night, Congress passed a spending package to help people and businesses struggling through the pandemic. It includes $900 billion in aid. And here's how Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey described it.

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When listeners in Fort Wayne, Indiana, tuned into Majic 95.1 in July, they heard something both unexpected and all-too-familiar. The station was playing Christmas music. In the heat of summer.

With the pandemic making life miserable for people, the station was looking for a way to appeal to listeners and boost its ratings, and Christmas songs can be a dependable way of doing so.

Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET

You probably think 2020 has turned out to be a pretty lousy year, what with the coronavirus pandemic, a global recession and unceasing partisan warfare in Washington.

Then again, you're not Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk.

Thanks to soaring stock prices at Tesla, the company Musk founded, the quirky South African-born entrepreneur has seen his personal wealth soar to unimaginable heights of $147 billion.

YouTube is filled with videos promising to teach you how to make big bucks trading stocks on your home computer. Matthew's videos tell you how to lose money.

A real estate agent and amateur investor, Matthew, who prefers his last name not be used because of how it might affect his career, made thousands of dollars trading stocks over the years, only to lose most of it day trading.

Now, in his YouTube videos, he cautions others about the perils of day trading at a time when stay-at-home measures have led millions to buy — and sell — stocks for the first time.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Not even the pandemic could keep the Dow from breaking a major milestone: the 30,000-point barrier.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average powered past 30,000 for the first time Tuesday after President Trump allowed the transition process to begin, even as he has yet to concede.

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Updated at 6:27 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve will comply with the Treasury Department's request to let key coronavirus emergency lending programs expire at the end of the year after the two agencies had earlier engaged in an unusual clash over the fate of the funds.

President Trump's slash-and-burn rhetoric against China may have brought few lasting economic benefits so far, but it has succeeded in one fundamental way: No administration can now afford to play nice with the United States' biggest rival.

Trump made hostility toward China a centerpiece of his "America First" trade agenda, launching bitter attacks against Beijing's policies and setting off a trade war by slapping tariffs on two-thirds of Chinese imports.

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Updated at 4:25 pm

Hopes for a vaccine have brought good times back to financial markets.

Stocks extended a recent rally Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 closing at record highs, after Moderna became the second drugmaker to tout progress toward developing an effective COVID-19 vaccine.

The Dow ended the day up 471 points, or 1.6%, and is now close to reaching 30,000 points for the first time. It appears to have put behind it for now a period of uncertainty ahead of the election that hurt markets.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

Euphoria broke out Monday on Wall Street after promising news of a vaccine trial provided a major dose of hope for the global economy.

The powerful rally was sparked after Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said the experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective.

The stock market racked up its best week since April despite the turmoil of an election that's still unresolved.

While the major stock indexes mostly finished a bit lower Friday, the drop wasn't enough to offset four days of strong gains. The S&P 500 surged 7.3% for the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 1,800 points, an increase of 6.9%.

Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET

Wall Street seemed to love the prospect of a "blue wave" just a few days ago. Now that Democrats appear less likely to get the landslide they hoped for, investors are happy about that as well.

Stock prices began climbing early in the week, when polls showed that Democrats could capture both the Senate and the White House, giving them complete control of Washington.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 1.6% higher on Monday and then rose more than 2% before polls closed on Election Day.

Stocks surged for a second consecutive day on Tuesday as investors bet wins by Democrats in elections would raise the chances for a comprehensive coronavirus relief package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 554 points, an increase of 2.06%. It had risen 1.6% on Monday.

The broader S&P 500 index ended up 1.78%, while the Nasdaq composite index finished 1.85% higher.

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Updated at 4:11 p.m. ET

Stocks fell sharply on Wednesday as a spike in coronavirus cases in the United States and Europe is raising the prospect of further lockdowns that could hurt the global economy.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 943 points, a decline of 3.4%, and is in negative territory for the month. The S&P 500 fell 3.5%, its third consecutive decline, and is down over 8% from its record high in early September.

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