S&P 500 hits record closing high, regaining pre-COVID level
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Tuesday, rebounding from huge losses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and crowning one of the most dramatic recoveries in the index's history. The record confirms, according to a widely accepted definition, that Wall Street's most closely followed index entered a bull market after hitting its pandemic low on March 23.
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Tuesday, rebounding from huge losses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and crowning one of the most dramatic recoveries in the index's history.
The record confirms, according to a widely accepted definition, that Wall Street's most closely followed index entered a bull market after hitting its pandemic low on March 23. It has surged about 55% since then.
That makes the bear market that started in late February the S&P 500's shortest in its history.
Since the March 23 closing low, the S&P posted the largest gain in a 103-day period in 87 years, according to Refinitiv data.
Trillions of dollars in fiscal and monetary stimulus have made Wall Street flush with cash, pushing yield-seeking investors into equities. Amazon
Doubts about the underlying health of the economy, however, persisted in Tuesday's session, with lukewarm reactions to bumper results from Home Depot
The S&P 500 flirted with all-time highs for several sessions before finally hitting a new record, raising questions about whether this run of gains could last.
"The S&P 500 has been impressive and has created a lot of wealth, but I am not sure that reflects the overall health of the economy," said Patrick Leary, chief market strategist at Incapital.
"The rally has more to do with asset inflation, which is fueled by all the liquidity and all the continued support in the economy as well as the weakening dollar," he added.
Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 67.32 points, or 0.24%, to 27,777.59, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 7.79 points, or 0.23%, to 3,389.78 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 81.12 points, or 0.73%, to 11,210.84.
Meanwhile Nasdaq clocked its 18th record closing high since early June, when it confirmed its recovery from the coronavirus sell-off. Tuesday's record was its 34th record close so far this year compared with 31 record closing highs in 2019 and 29 in 2018.
Consumer discretionary <.SPLRCD> rose the most among major S&P sectors on strength in Amazon while technology stocks provided another major support to the benchmark index.
Home Depot Inc
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. homebuilding accelerated by the most in nearly four years in July in the latest sign the housing sector is emerging as one of the few areas of strength in an economy suffering a record slowdown. That further added to market optimism.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's recent meeting due on Wednesday, meanwhile, may provide some insight into how the central bank sees the recovery playing out. The Fed has cut rates to near zero to bolster business through the pandemic.
(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Terence Gabriel; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.