Stocks continued to work their way higher in December despite record-setting daily increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths, increased state and provincial lockdowns across North America, further delays in implementing the next round of U.S. stimulus and even the continued denial of U.S. election results by President Trump, with risks that he takes on a more ‘scorched earth’ policy during his last month in office.  But the approval and rollout of three different vaccines, continued unwavering support from central banks and the belief that new economic stimulus will eventually pass all helped stocks push to slight gains, adding to the sharp rise in November.  Stock sectors tied to the recovery trade were the clear winners in December, with the Dow Industrials and the ‘small cap’ Russell2000 Indices leading the charge.  The Dow features many of the largest multinational conglomerates (3M, Disney, Apple, Visa, Microsoft) that benefit from a global recovery while the Russell2000 benefits from a recovery in the U.S. domestic economy and many of the smaller companies that have been most negatively impacted during the pandemic, including many financial industry stocks.  In Canada, the defensive health care, consumer staples and telecom sectors were laggards in December while the energy and consumer cyclical (i.e. autos, airlines) sectors lead the gains on recovery hopes and lower valuations.   Bond prices were mostly unchanged as a slight rise in long-term rates was offset by an improvement in corporate bond spreads.