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House approves $2,000 stimulus checks, market hits new record highs: The headlines and your money

"The medium and longer-term outlook for stocks will be positive," notes one expert.

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US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, holds a press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

Markets hit record highs, and the House approves $2,000 stimulus checks. Plus, smart consumer strategies to navigate holiday gift returns. Here's how the headlines could affect your money.

Markets hit new record highs

Stock market indexes jumped to record closing highs Monday after President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion Covid-19 relief bill into law. The Dow gained 0.7%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.9%, and the Nasdaq, 0.7%.  

Some market-watchers see the stimulus package as another indicator that the stock market rally and economic recovery are likely to continue, with no double-dip recession. 

"The five pillars of the rally (Federal stimulus, FOMC stimulus, vaccine rollout, divided government and no double dip-recession) remain largely in place, and until that changes, the medium and longer-term outlook for stocks will be positive," wrote Tom Essaye, founder of the Sevens Report.

House votes on $2,000 second stimulus checks

The House voted Monday to boost the second stimulus payments to $2,000, up from $600, as Democrats aligned themselves with Trump's calls to provide more direct aid to Americans. That measure now goes to the Senate, where experts say it's likely to face more opposition.

Meanwhile, senior Treasury Department officials have indicated that the $600 checks will be headed to taxpayers' bank accounts and mailboxes in the coming weeks, with more money added later should the House bill pass. So start thinking of wise ways to use the money

VIDEO1:5901:59
Suze Orman on how to use a second stimulus check

Video by Helen Zhao

How to make the most of retailer holiday return policies

Store return policies for holiday gifts look a little different during the pandemic. Amazon, for instance, extended its return deadline to January 31 for items shipped starting in October. Staples isn't accepting returns of personal items, such as earbuds, due to health concerns.

Consumer experts recommend reading retailers' return policies and strategizing accordingly to ensure you return unwanted merchandise successfully and safely. 

Words you've heard: Double-dip recession

A double-dip recession, also called a W-shaped recession, is a set of back-to-back recessions with a brief period of economic recovery in between. While recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle, double dips are unusual: The last time the U.S. experienced one was in the 1980s, when there were two recessions between 1980 and 1982. 

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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