Wall Street rides bull market momentum, S&P, Nasdaq on course for new highs
By Stephen Culp NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street gained on Monday, setting the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on track for record closing highs as optimism over potential medical advances in the war against the coronavirus pandemic helped keep investors in a buying mood. The benchmark S&P 500 reclaimed its February closing high last week, confirming a bull market and the fastest recovery from a bear market trough on record
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street gained on Monday, setting the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on track for record closing highs as optimism over potential medical advances in the war against the coronavirus pandemic helped keep investors in a buying mood.
The benchmark S&P 500 reclaimed its February closing high last week, confirming a bull market and the fastest recovery from a bear market trough on record.
The blue-chip Dow, while leading Monday's gains, remains nearly 5% off its all time high, and down just over 1% year-to-date. The Nasdaq and the S&P have gained over 26% and nearly 6%, respectively, since the final closing bell of 2019.
"There was no news over the weekend following last week's (bull market) confirmation to cause a shift in thinking," said Oliver Pursche, president of Bronson Meadows Capital Management in Fairfield, Connecticut.
"As economies reopen, businesses are still keeping employees at home, which gives the 'stay-at-home' trade more legs," Pursche added.
Markets worldwide were given a boost by new developments in the global race to battle the coronavirus, including an announcement from the Food and Drug Administration that it had given emergency authorization for the use of plasma from recovered patients as a treatment option.
However, the World Health Organization expressed skepticism about the treatment due to "low quality" data.
The Trump administration is considering fast-tracking an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca Plc
"Trump's team has been very vocal about getting a vaccine before the election," Pursche said.
The four-day Republican national convention gets under way on Monday, with the party nominating President Donald Trump for a second term and making the case for his re-election.
On Capitol Hill, partisan wrangling over stalled coronavirus aid talks continued, and congressional Democrats and Republicans remain at loggerheads over funding levels and unemployment benefits.
Market participants will pay close attention to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's remarks on monetary policy at this week's Kansas City Fed Jackson Hole symposium, which is being held this year in a virtual format.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 261.58 points, or 0.94%, to 28,191.91, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 23.68 points, or 0.70%, to 3,420.84 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 52.48 points, or 0.46%, to 11,364.28.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but healthcare <.SPXHC> and real estate <.SPLRCR> were in positive territory.
Energy <.SPNY>, financials <.SPSY> and materials <.SPLRCM> enjoyed the largest percentage gains.
Ahead of its 4-to-1 share split on Friday, Apple Inc
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.42-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.16-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 45 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 80 new highs and 34 new lows.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; 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.