The Dow Jones passed 20,000 on Wednesday, hitting it's first record high in more than a month.

Don't get too excited: The Dow Jones Industrial Average may be famous, but it's usefulness as an economic indicator is limited. It's a simple average of just 30 large American companies, meaning that higher-priced stocks can skew the reading.

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S&P 500 hits a record high too: The S&P 500 is a better read of overall investor sentiment, and that index has performed well of late.

Why all the excitement? Traders are banking on help from Washington, particularly in the form of corporate tax breaks. But earnings have been strong this quarter too, after more than a year of stagnant profits.

Measures of the overall price of the stock market—like stock market capitalization relative to GDP—show that stocks are pricey today. Investors beware.

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Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Why the pandemic's carbon cuts still won't head off a climate emergency

Expand chart
Data: BloombergNEF; Chart: Axios Visuals

Global carbon emissions from energy, which are the lion's share, will never fully come back from pre-pandemic levels — recovering from a pandemic-fueled decline but sinking again around 2027 with renewable energy on the rise — according to a BloombergNEF analysis.

But, but, but: It still won't prevent the planet from cooking, as the firm still sees enough emissions to lead to over 3.3°C of warming above preindustrial levels by century's end.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.