U.S. Stocks Close Higher Again; S&P, Nasdaq Climb To Fresh Record Highs

U.S. stocks closed higher on Wednesday, extending recent uptrend amid continued optimism about growth and on hopes the Federal Reserve might not begin tapering its bond-buying program anytime soon.

Investors looked ahead to the upcoming Jackson Hole Symposium. The Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to provide cues on the central bank’s tapering timeline.

At the virtual conference on Friday, the Federal Reserve’s policymakers are expected to present a timeline for tapering the central bank’s bond-buying program.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq climbed to fresh record highs and the Dow closed up as well.

The Dow ended the session with a gain of 39.24 points or 0.11 percent at 35,405.40. The S&P 500, which advanced to 4,501.71, closed up by 9.96 points or 0.22 percent at 4,496.19, while the tech-laden Nasdaq settled with a gain of 22.06 points or 0.15 percent at 15,041.86, off a fresh intraday high of 15,059.43.

On the economic front, data released by the Commerce Department showed durable goods orders edged down by 0.1 percent in July following a 0.8 percent increase in June. Economists had expected orders to decrease by 0.3 percent.

Excluding a steep drop in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders climbed by 0.7 percent in July after rising by 0.6 percent in June. Ex-transportation orders were expected to increase by 0.5 percent.

American Express gained more than 3 percent. Travelers Companies climbed more than 2.5 percent and JP Morgan Chase advanced nearly 2 percent.

Honeywell International, Chevron, Goldman Sachs and Caterpillar posted moderate gains.

Salesforce.com closed on a firm note despite reporting a drop in earnings. The company said its second-quarter earnings totaled $0.54 billion, or $0.56 per share, as against $2.63 billion, or $2.85 per share, in last year’s second quarter.

Apple, United Health, Visa, Amgen, Merck, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble drifted lower.

Nordstrom shares plunged more than 17 percent after the company announced that it would only be in a position to return cash to shareholders by the end of year, as it expects costs to continue rising into the second half of its fiscal year.

Other Markets

Asian stocks turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday as investors looked ahead to the upcoming U.S. Fed’s Jackson Hole symposium later this week.

European stocks ended slightly higher on Wednesday as investors made cautious moves, looking ahead to the upcoming Jackson Hole Symposium for directional clues. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.34% and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.18%, while Germany’s DAX ended 0.28% down. Switzerland’s SMI shed 0.58%. The pan European Stoxx 600 is edging up 0.1%.

Looking Ahead

The Labor Department will release the data on jobless claims on Thursday. A report on second-quarter GDP is due out tomorrow. Data on personal consumption expenditure is also due for release tomorrow.

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