/S&P 500 and Nasdaq close at record highs as investors bet that a vaccine will drive an economic rebound

S&P 500 and Nasdaq close at record highs as investors bet that a vaccine will drive an economic rebound

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  • US stocks gained on Tuesday as vaccine progress further boosted equities hit hardest by the pandemic. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite rose to record highs.
  • Investors cheered Pfizer and BioNTech’s application for regulatory approval for their coronavirus vaccine in the European Union. If approved, the shot could be distributed before the new year.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of lingering risks to the US economy at a Senate banking committee hearing. The commentary did little to dent investor bullishness
  • Bitcoin fell as much as 6.3%, to $18,157.38, before climbing back abouve $19,000. The coin notched a new all-time high of $19,914.33 early Tuesday morning.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude declined as much as 2.7%, to $44.12 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks gained on Tuesday as vaccine progress continued to lift stocks battered the most by the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite closed at record highs.

Pfizer and BioNTech applied for regulatory approval for their vaccine in the European Union; if approved, the shot could begin to be distributed before the new year.

Optimism toward vaccine rollouts continues to move investor cash from growth stocks to riskier areas of the market like value stocks and cyclical sectors. Communications, financial, and tech stocks led the S&P 500 to its intraday record, while consumer staples and industrials underperformed.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. ET close on Tuesday:

Read more: Shelby Osborne achieved financial freedom using a unique twist on a classic real-estate investment strategy. Here’s how she built a portfolio of 53 units, starting in her early 20s.

Testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate banking committee did little to quash bullish sentiments. Powell highlighted the economic risks of the coronavirus’s resurgence, adding that a prolonged battle with the virus will leave significant scars.

“The rise in new COVID-19 cases, both here and abroad, is concerning and could prove challenging for the next few months,” he said in remarks published ahead of the hearing. “A full economic recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to reengage in a broad range of activities.”

Central bank officials next meet on December 15 and 16 to discuss the Fed’s policy stance.

The market’s uptick retraced Monday losses and pulled stocks’ bullish trend into December. Equities dipped to start the week as investors secured profits. Major indexes still posted historic monthly gains, largely driven by encouraging vaccine news as COVID-19 cases soared.

Read more: HSBC says buy these 31 global stocks that are exposed to the pandemic’s biggest disruptions to tech and set to become growth engines of the future

The start-of-the-month uptick suggests bullishness will linger through the end of the year, but downside risks linger. Daily coronavirus cases remain at elevated levels. While Congress has reconvened to negotiate a new stimulus deal, no proposal has garnered support from both party leaders.

These factors, “along with the market’s history of more muted performance in the month following a double-digit return, may lead to near-term market choppiness,” Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist for Ally Invest, said.

BlackBerry surged the most in history after the company announced a multi-year deal with Amazon to develop and market BlackBerry’s “Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform.” The cloud-computing platform allows automakers to log vehicle sensor data and improve systems, according to a press release.

Tesla gained after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the automaker would be added to the S&P 500 in one step on December 21. A multistage process for including Tesla in the index had been considered.

Read more: Buy these 10 stocks set to soar and smash Wall Street’s expectations in the recovery from COVID-19, RBC says

Zoom Video tumbled after guiding for slower sales growth through the end of the year. Though the company’s third-quarter report beat Wall Street estimates, moderating growth led some to question whether the stock’s 200% rally from the market’s March low was sustainable.

Bitcoin tumbled as low as $18,157.38 before erasing losses and climbing back above $19,000. The cryptocurrency hit a record high of $19,914.33 early Tuesday morning before outsize selling stifled the rally.

Spot gold jumped as much as 2.3%, to $1,817.37 per ounce. The US dollar weakened against the majority of Group-of-10 peers, and Treasury yields gained sharply.

Oil prices dipped as OPEC members deliberated over delaying a production hike scheduled for January. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 2.7%, to $44.12 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, declined 2.1%, to $46.88 per barrel, at intraday lows.

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