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Nasdaq, S&P again hit all-time highs, Dow ends +0.3%

Nasdaq, S&P again hit all-time highs, Dow ends +0.3%

A man walks a dog in the shade away from the midday sun past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building in Manhattan, during hot weather in New York City on Aug 11, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Segar)

NEW YORK: The approach of Hurricane Laura could not dampen Wall Street's ebullient optimism on Wednesday (Aug 26), as the Nasdaq and S&P 500 again climbed to new records fuelled by solid earnings and economic data.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average reversed its early doldrums and gained 0.3 percent to close at 28,331.92.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index posted its fifth consecutive all-time high close, after jumping 1.7 per cent to 11,665.06, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.0 per cent to finish at 3,787.3, its fourth straight record.

Traders also may be putting a lot of stock in the highly-anticipated speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday, which is expected to send signals about the trajectory of interest rates in coming months.

But the changes Powell is set to preview about how the central bank communicates policy would not have any impact until the economy starts to recover and inflation shows signs of life.

Analysts say the Fed chief could change the policy focus to allow inflation to rise above 2.0 per cent for a time, to allow the economy to heat up and unemployment to fall.

"Some of the stock market being up is a little bit of hopeful trading regarding this speech," JJ Kinahan of TD Ameritrade told AFP, suggesting observers might be disappointed.

But "people have money to invest" and the big tech names Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Netflix "are continuing to just find buyer after buyer" and sometimes post double digit gains for no apparent reason.

Meanwhile, category 4 Hurricane Laura and its 15-to-20 foot storm surges is poised to slam into the southern US coast, home to massive oil and petrochemical industries.

Government data showed a surge of a different kind as new orders for big-ticket manufactured goods jumped 11.2 per cent, almost entirely due to the 35.6 per cent spike in transportation equipment.

Among individual shares, cloud computing firm Salesforce.com, which will join the Dow index on Monday in place of global oil giant Exxon Mobil, leapt 26 per cent after a strong earnings report.

Dick's Sporting Goods jumps 15.7 per cent as earnings showed store sales surged despite the pandemic - which has allowed home exercise programs to flourish.

Apple, which is poised to make a four-to-one stock split after its value soared to US$2 trillion, gained 1.4 per cent.

Source: AFP/ec

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