Stocks rise; S&P 500 approaches another all-time high as Biden team announced

U.S. stocks rose broadly in afternoon trading Tuesday, sending the S&P 500 toward another record high, as investors focus on the possibility that coronavirus vaccines could soon help usher in a fuller global economic recovery.

The S&P 500 was up 1.4%, with technology stocks driving a big part of the rally. The strong opening to December follows a 10.8% surge for the broad index in November, marking its best month since April. The index is also on track to surpass its record high of 3,638.35 set on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 273 points, or 0.9%, to 29,914 as of 2:25 p.m. Eastern time. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.6%, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller companies was up 1.2%. Treasury yields also rose in another sign of optimism from investors.

European regulators could approve a coronavirus vaccine developed by drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech within four weeks. The companies have already asked for approval to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. Moderna is also asking U.S. and European regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19.

Roughly 80% of the companies in the S&P 500 rose, as did every sector in the index. Technology stocks led the way higher, with the Big Tech companies notching solid gains. Apple was up 3.3% and Microsoft rose 1.4%. Facebook gained 4.2%, while Netflix climbed 3.4%. Google parent Alphabet rose 3.3% and Amazon gained 2.4%.

Banks, health care stocks and companies that rely on direct consumer spending also helped drive the market higher. JPMorgan Chase was up 2.4% and Pfizer rose 2.9%.

Early in Wall Street’s recovery this spring, it was Big Tech that almost singlehandedly carried the market higher on expectations that work-from-home and other trends would mean bigger profits for them. But hopes for a vaccine and return to economic normalcy have been helping boost stocks of companies whose profits are more closely tied to the economy’s strength.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.93% from 0.83% late Monday, a big move. The higher yields are also helping to bolster banks, which rely on higher bond yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans.

The economic recovery has been stunted by a resurgence of the virus, but investors are looking past much of that because of good progress on vaccine development. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report that the world economy will bounce back to its pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year, though the recovery will be uneven across the countries and many risks remain.

European markets rose. Germany’s DAX gained 0.7% and the CAC 40 in France rose 1.4%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.9%. Markets in Asia also rose.

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News Talk Florida Staff