U.S. Stocks Close Slightly Higher; S&P, Nasdaq Post Fresh Record Highs

Despite turning a bit sluggish at times, U.S. stocks stayed positive right through the day’s session on Tuesday amid optimism about growth and hopes that the Fed might note begin tapering its bond-buying program anytime soon.

Among the major averages, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, both posted new record closing highs.

The Dow ended with a gain of 30.55 points or 0.09 percent at 35,366.26, paring some gains after hitting a high of 35,445.47. The S&P 500 settled at 4,486.23, gaining 6.70 points or 0.15 percent, while the tech-laden Nasdaq ended higher by 77.15 points or 0.52 percent at 15,019.80.

Stocks gained in strength as traders shrugged off concerns about the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchases amid continued optimism about the economic outlook.

Hopes that the FDA’s approval of thee Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine could boost vaccination rates in the US and spur economic growth contributed as well to market’s uptick.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department released a report this morning showing a rebound in U.S. new home sales in the month of July.

The report showed new home sales increased by 1.0 percent to an annual rate of 708,000 in July after slumping by 2.6 percent to an upwardly revised rate of 701,000 in June.

Economists had expected new home sales to jump by 3.6 percent to a rate of 700,000 from the 676,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Investors await a highly-anticipated speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell during the virtual Jackson Hole Symposium on Friday for more clarity on the Fed’s tapering timeline.

Crude oil prices rose sharply on easing worries about outlook for energy demand, and triggered some strong buying in the energy space. Technology stocks had another good outing.

Caterpillar, Goldman Sachs, 3M, Intel and Cisco Systems posted solid gains.

Best Buy shares rallied nearly 10 percent on better-than-expected results.

Home Depot, Travelers Companies, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Walmart and Coca-Cola drifted lower.

Other markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index soared by 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance. France’s CAC 40 declined 0.28 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX gained 0.24% and 0.53%, respectively. The pan European Stoxx 600 edged down 0.02%.

In the bond market, treasuries moved to the downside after ending the previous session nearly unchanged. As a result, the yield on the 10-year Treasury Note edged higher to 1.295 percent. The yield on the 30-year Treasury bond added 3 basis points to 1.913 percent.

Looking Ahead

Data on durable goods orders for the month of July is due out on Wednesday. The Energy Information Administration’s report on crude inventories in the U.S. is due at 10:30 AM Wednesday.

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