Nasdaq, S&P 500 again end US trading at records

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan, New York City, on Aug 20, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street indices closed at records again on Wednesday (Aug 25), as traders bet the current wave of Covid-19 infections will dissipate, allowing the world's largest economy to continue recovering.

The broad-based S&P 500 closed 0.2 per cent higher at 4,496.19, its second consecutive record. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index finished up 0.2 per cent at 15,041.86, setting a new all-time high for the third straight day.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 per cent to end at 35,405.50.

"The rebound for stocks has come amid cooling concerns about the global spread of the Delta variant, as data suggests cases may be peaking and as the (US Food and Drug Administration) fully approved a coronavirus vaccine this week," analysts from Charles Schwab investment bank said.

The fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus had caused traders to pull back in recent weeks on worries that it would again complicate the business climate.

However, the week is not over yet. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is due to speak on Friday at a central banking conference, and traders are waiting to see if he gives any details on shifts in the easy money policies that have been credited with fuelling recent equity rallies.

The only major economic report on Wednesday was the Commerce Department data showing a slight dip in orders for big-ticket manufactured goods last month, though defence orders kept spending from a worse slump.

Among individual shares, Boeing dropped 0.2 per cent after the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would open a review of the company's operations to follow up on feedback from inspectors showing many feel they are unable to share their concerns with regulators.

Delta Air Lines gained 1.9 per cent after it said it would impose a US$200 monthly surcharge on employees who do not get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Travel shares have improved in recent days and rival United Airlines rose 1 per cent by the close, while American Airlines gained 1.6 per cent.

The positive market sentiment caused an uptick in bond yields, which pushed bank stocks higher. Wells Fargo finished 1.9 per cent higher, and Bank of America won 1.6 per cent.

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