US stocks gained inches on Wednesday, aided by banks and the reopening of stocks, as 10-year government bond yields rose higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose around 100 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.2% to hit another intraday high. The Nasdaq Composite gained almost 0.1%.
Zoom In Icon Arrows pointing outwards
The benchmark ten-year government bond yield rose to 1.332%, its highest level since the beginning of the month. JPMorgan Chase and Citi stocks rose 2%. Regional banks like Zions and Fifth Third, which tend to trade closely with 10-year-olds, also gained 2%.
Markets have been bolstered by signs that delta variant cases may be peaking. Fundstrat's Tom Lee said in a customer note late Tuesday that the worst may be behind us, citing declining positivity rates in Florida and Texas.
“We recognize that stock markets have been choppy and the wide variance in outlook means that investors don't have a simple consensus. But our central case remains that we continue to take full risk with an 'all rallies' at the end of the year, wrote Lee. "The frequency of incoming data has improved over the past few days, with the peak of COVID-19 cases being most notable in a number of states."
Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that its Covid vaccine booster shot had shown promising results in early clinical trials and had significantly increased antibodies to viruses.
Delta Airlines announced on Wednesday that it would increase health insurance premiums for unvaccinated employees to cover higher Covid costs. The company employs around 75,000 people, around 75% of whom are fully vaccinated. On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs requested that employees enter their offices to be fully vaccinated. Delta and Goldman added another 1.5% on Wednesday morning.
Christopher Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo Securities, also sees further gains in sight. He raised his year-end target for the S&P 500 on Tuesday to 4,825, 7.5% above the index's daily close. Harvey's reputation is based on its strength through August and carries over into the last few months of the year.
“In the past 31 years there have been nine cases in which the S&P 500 achieved a price return of more than 10% in the first eight months of the year; in the next four months the index averaged a further + 8.4% instances in the last four months achieved a negative return, "he wrote in a statement to his clients.
Dick's Sporting Goods hit an all-time high of $ 134.80 on Wednesday after reporting strong quarterly earnings before the bell.
The much-anticipated Jackson Hole symposium begins Thursday, when central bankers may release updates on their plan to reduce monetary stimulus. The Federal Reserve has bought at least $ 120 billion in bonds a month to contain longer-term interest rates and stimulate economic growth as the pandemic ravages the economy.
Chairman Jerome Powell is due to comment on Friday.
"Taper talk is the concern, but if inflation continues to heat up and economic data continues to be mixed, the timing for the tapering could be postponed," said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest. "The Fed is unlikely to force an economic slowdown that isn't ready yet and the outlook is becoming more uncertain with the rise of the Delta variant."
Bell added that the determining factor could be the August job report due September 3, as Covid cases skyrocketed last month with the spread of the Delta variant.
Several tech companies will report their results on Wednesday after the market closes, including the Dow component Salesforce. Box and Snowflake are also on deck.
Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro.
Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV.
Sign in to get started Try it for free today