Wall Street ends higher with records for S&P 500, Nasdaq

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan, New York City. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks marched higher on Tuesday (Aug 24) as optimism overwhelmed fears about Covid-19, causing oil prices to rise and sending the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to new records.

Positive earnings reports and upbeat economic data underpinned the third straight positive session for major Wall Street indices.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up less than 0.1 per cent to close at 35,366.26, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained nearly 0.2 per cent to finish at a record 4,486.23.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.5 per cent to end at 15,019.8 - an all-time high and the first close above 15,000.

Even amid the rapid spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, Adam Sarhan of 50 Park Investments said sentiment has shifted to the view that the worst is over.

And with all eyes on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's scheduled speech on Friday, markets are convinced the central bank will keep stimulus in place for an extended period, even if changes to its policy are made.

"The bulls showed up again and defeated any bearish pressure on the market," Sarhan told AFP. "It's a tug of war between the bulls and the bears, and bears won last week but now the bulls win that fight."

Equities have surged higher throughout earnings season, but hit a soft patch last week.

But government data showing solid gains in new home sales in July, and better-than-expected earnings for Best Buy, added to the positive momentum that began Friday.

Best Buy's shares surged more than eight percent at the closing of Tuesday's trading.

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