In a sudden reversal late on Sunday, Trump backed down from his threat to block the hard-fought bill, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and averted a federal government shutdown.
“The passage of the stimulus bill is erasing some fears and investors are relieved that there is help out there,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
The S&P 1500 airlines index added 1.5% as carriers are set to receive $15 billion in addition payroll assistance under the new government aid.
Cruise operators Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, Carnival Corp and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd also rose between 3% and 5%.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher with technology, consumer services and consumer discretionary posting the biggest gains.
After a sharp recovery from a coronavirus crash in March, the S&P 500 is on track to rise more than 15% this year on the back of a loose monetary policy, high liquidity and a COVID-19 vaccine program.
However, near-term outlook for equities remain clouded on worries over a resurgence in coronavirus pandemic, mixed economic data and upcoming U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia.
Trading volumes are expected to be thin in the final week of the year that has historically been a seasonally strong period for equities.
At 11:46 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 237.05 points, or 0.78%, to 30,437.00 the S&P 500 gained 31.32 points, or 0.85%, to 3,734.49 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 96.52 points, or 0.76%, to 12,901.82.
Democrats in the U.S. Congress on Monday will put to vote a proposal for higher pandemic relief payments for Americans, although it appears unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Fueling a global appetite for risk, Britain and the European Union clinched a lean post-Brexit trade deal on Thursday, while the launch of a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive in Europe over the weekend added to the upbeat mood.
Tesla Inc rose 1.3% after a report that the electric-car maker will start operations in India early next year.
Netflix Inc, Peloton Interactive Inc and Zoom Video Communications Inc, which have outperformed throughout the health crisis, slipped between 0.1% and 5%.
Lockheed Martin Corp rose 0.1% after the fighter jet maker said it delivered 123 F-35 jets in 2020, near the top end of its revised outlook.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.7-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.4-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted 31 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 392 new highs and 14 new lows.
Reporting by Devik Jain and Supriya R in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Maju Samuel
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