© Reuters. A man walks a dog in the shade past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during hot weather in New York
By Medha Singh and Devik Jain
(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs on Wednesday as investors bought into technology stocks that have thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic following the upbeat quarterly results from Salesforce and HP (NYSE:) Enterprise.
Salesforce.com Inc (NYSE:), which is set to enter the blue-chip Dow index next week, surged 27.3% as it raised annual revenue forecast due to high demand for its online business software.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE:) Co added 6.2% as its full-year profit outlook came ahead of market expectations and income-tax filing software firm Intuit Inc (NASDAQ:) advanced 1.1% after it reported a jump in quarterly revenue.
The tech sector climbed 1.5%, but seven of the 11 major S&P sectors eased. The MSCI world equity index hit an all-time high.
“Markets are pricing in uncertainty in regards to some of the coronavirus-related economic impact, due to which the stay-at-home and technology stocks have seen a renewed source of relative strength,” said Matt Stucky, portfolio manager, equities, at Northwestern (NYSE:) Mutual Wealth Management Co in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Adding to the upbeat mood was early data from Moderna (NASDAQ:)’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine which showed it induced immune responses in older adults that were similar to younger participants.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have hit a series of record closing highs recently, driven by stimulus and demand for tech-focused stocks, even though economic data pointed to an uneven recovery from a recession.
All eyes will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s address at the virtual Jackson Hole symposium before markets open on Thursday, where he is expected to outline a softer policy stance on inflation.
“Allowing higher levels of inflation that they’d be comfortable with in the economy is a sign that loose financial and monetary policy is going to be the norm for quite some time,” Stucky said. At 11:10 a.m. ET, the was down 66.91 points, or 0.24%, at 28,181.53, the S&P 500 was up 13.24 points, or 0.38%, at 3,456.86. The was up 112.91 points, or 0.98%, at 11,579.39.
Nordstrom Inc (NYSE:) tumbled 5.4% after reporting a bigger-than-expected loss as its stores were shut for about half of the reported quarter and consumers stayed at home with little need for designer clothes.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.53-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.35-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 67 new highs and three new lows.
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