U.S. equity benchmark indexes were trading at or near record territory early Wednesday, as investors drew hope from progress in the development of tests and vaccines for COVID-19 along with the potential for another fiscal stimulus package in Washington.
Investors were also digesting a private-sector jobs report that came in weaker than expected, well below the nearly 1 million that had been estimated for the month. An account of business conditions in parts of the U.S. from the Federal Reserve is due later in the afternoon.
How are the benchmarks performing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
gain 120 points, or 0.4%, at 28,753, the S&P 500 index
climbed 14 points, or 0.4%, at 3,541, after hitting an intraday record at 3,546,41, while the Nasdaq Composite Index
advanced 81 points to reach 12,000, a gain of 0.6%, following its own intraday all-time high at 12,050.46.
On Tuesday, the Dow rose 215.61 points to end at 28,645.66, or 0.8% higher, the S&P 500 index added 26.34 points to close at a record 3,526.65, a gain of 0.8%, after setting an intraday record of 3,528.03; while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 165.21 points to a record 11,939.67 finish, a rise of 1.1%, after touching a new intraday all-time high of 11,945.72.
What’s driving the market?
Stock markets looked upbeat early Wednesday, with a number of possible catalysts helping the investing mood amid the coronavirus pandemic. Bloomberg reported that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has again restarted talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sparking fresh hope of another fiscal stimulus plan to help out-of-work Americans.
On the health front, the leading health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that a COVID-19 pandemic could come sooner than expected if the roster of companies attempting to achieve a cure are able to produce outstanding preliminary results.
Speaking to Kaiser Health News, Fauci said that the board that is overseeing vaccine approvals could decided that “the data is so good right now that you can say it’s safe and effective.”
The global tally for confirmed cases of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 climbed to 25.8 million on Wednesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose to 857,552
Early moves in the session come a day after buying in large-capitalization technology stocks and shares tied to pandemic stay-at-home trends led the S&P 500 index to record its 21st record close of 2020 and the Nasdaq Composite its 41st on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, investors assessed a report from Automatic Data Processing Inc
that said 428,000 private-sector jobs were created in August, missing expectations for a gain of 900,000 jobs, according to a consensus of estimates surveyed by Econoday.
ADP did, however, raise last month’s jobs figure to 212,000 for July from a rise of 167,000, which was then below forecast of 1.9 million jobs.
The economy has recouped fewer than half of the 20 million-plus jobs lost in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
In other news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Tuesday implemented a temporary eviction moratorium through the end of the year, protecting millions of U.S. renters from losing their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration announced.
Other economic data, will be watched, including the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, an anecdotal account of business conditions in the central bank’s districts set to be released at 2 p.m. ET, and before that a report on factory orders for July is due.
Which stocks are in focus?
- Shares of Macy’s Inc.
shot up Wednesday, after the department store chain reported a fiscal second-quarter loss that was much narrower than expected as net sales topped forecasts.
- Vera Bradley Inc. shares
soared Wednesday, after the handbag and accessories retailer posted a surprise profit for the second quarter.
- Shares of DraftKings
rallied Wednesday after the company added basketball legend Michael Jordan as an adviser to the company.
- Shares of Peloton Interactive Inc.
ran up 7.9% toward record territory Wednesday, extending the 25.9% rally over the past six sessions, after J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth boosted his price target to the highest among Wall Street analysts, citing optimism ahead of next week’s earnings report.
- Shares of Jack Daniel’s parent Brown-Forman Corp.
fell Wednesday, although the alcohol brands company reported fiscal first-quarter results that beat expectations, although gross margin contracted as price/mix decreased.
- Shares of ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc.
were up Wednesday, after the termite and pest control company said it’s selling its ServiceMaster Brands franchise business for $1.55 billion to Roark Capital.
- Clothing retailer Guess Inc. shares
soared Wednesday, after the company blew past estimates for its fiscal second quarter.
How are other assets trading?
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
added 0.6 basis point at 0.68%. Bond prices move inversely to yields.
shed $9.40, or 0.5%, at $1,969.90 an ounce, pulling back from its highest settlement in about two weeks on Tuesday. West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery
traded 20 cents higher, or 0.5%, at $42.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
which tracks the currency versus a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.3% at 92.637 after trading down earlier in the session.
In Asia, China’s CSI 300
closed less than 0.1% higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
finished 0.3% lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225
rose 0.5%, while the South Korea’s Kospi