S&P 500, Nasdaq at record as vaccine hope eclipses poor data

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq touched all-time highs on Thursday as hopes of a swift COVID-19 vaccine-driven recovery and economic stimulus eased immediate worries about rising coronavirus cases and dismal economic data.

FILE PHOTO: The front facade of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York, U.S., November 24, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Boeing Co jumped about 6% after budget airline Ryanair ordered 75 additional 737 MAX jets with a catalogue value of $9 billion, throwing a commercial lifeline to the embattled U.S. planemaker.

Heavyweight Tesla Inc’s 3% gain provided the biggest support for the Nasdaq after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to “buy” in the run-up to the electric-car maker’s addition to the S&P 500.

The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell last week, but remained extraordinarily high at 712,000 while a separate survey showed U.S. services industry activity slowed to a six-month low in November.

“As long as the timeline for the vaccine roll out continues to make sense investors are willing to look past near-term weakness in the economy and a growing number of COVID cases that could very well grow over the next several weeks,” said Michael Sheldon, executive director and chief investment officer of RDM Financial Group at Hightower.

There were also early signs that a $908 billion bipartisan proposal could be gaining traction as a negotiating tool, even though Republicans and Democrats in Congress remained unable to smooth out differences over the next coronavirus relief package.

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday the country will face the grimmest health crisis yet over the next few months.

At 10:26 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 119.10 points, or 0.40%, to 30,002.89, the S&P 500 gained 10.22 points, or 0.28%, to 3,679.23 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 80.29 points, or 0.65%, to 12,429.65.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with industrial and real estate sectors posting the sharpest percentage gains.

Financials, utilities and consumer staples were in the red.

Progress in developing a working COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the year has driven the Wall Street’s main indexes to record levels recently.

Industrial conglomerate 3M Co’s shares gained 0.4% as the company unveiled plans to cut about 2,900 jobs globally and scale back on investments in slower-growing markets as part of a restructuring.

Cloud-security provider Zscaler Inc advanced 11% as it reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and adjusted profit.

Waddell & Reed Financial surged 49%, extending gains from the previous session, after Australia’s Macquarie Group announced a deal to buy the wealth manager for $1.7 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.1-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.7-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and no new low while the Nasdaq recorded 192 new highs and six new lows.

Source: Read Full Article