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US STOCKS-S&P, Nasdaq close at new highs as Wall Street rides bull momentum

Mon, 24th Aug 2020 21:20

(For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or
type LIVE/ in a news window.)

* Apple closes above $500 per share

* Republican National Convention begins

* Energy, financial sectors lead gains

* Indexes up: Dow 1.35%, S&P 1.00%, Nasdaq 0.60%
(Adds closing prices)

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq
reached new record closing highs on Monday as optimism over
potential medical advances in the war against the coronavirus
pandemic pushed all three major U.S. stock indexes higher.

The benchmark S&P 500 reclaimed its February closing high
last week, confirming a bull market and the fastest recovery
from a bear market trough on record.

The blue-chip Dow, while leading Monday's gains, remains
nearly 4.2% below its all-time high, and down 0.8% year-to-date.
The Nasdaq and the S&P have gained 26.8% and 6.2%, respectively,
since the final closing bell of 2019.

Of note, the Dow Transports index, often considered a
barometer of U.S. economic health, handily outperformed the
broader market.

"There's been a broadening in this rally and the what's
reflected in the transports," said Chuck Carlson, chief
executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond,
Indiana. "(Higher) volume is accompanying this expanding
breadth, and those are all bullish things."

Markets worldwide were given a boost by new developments in
the global race to battle the coronavirus, including an
announcement from the Food and Drug Administration that it had
given emergency authorization for the use of plasma from
recovered patients as a treatment option.

However, the World Health Organization expressed skepticism
about the treatment due to "low quality" data.

The Trump administration is considering fast-tracking an
experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca Plc
and Oxford University in hopes it could be deployed in
the United States before Americans head to the polls in
November.

"There's an element of that news helping the 'reopening
trade,' which is a euphemism of economically sensitive stocks
performing better," Carlson added.

The four-day Republican national convention got under way on
Monday, with the party making the case for Trump's re-election.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans remained at
loggerheads over funding levels and unemployment benefits.

Market participants will pay close attention to U.S. Federal
Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's remarks on monetary policy at
this week's Kansas City Fed Jackson Hole symposium, which is
being held this year in a virtual format.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 378.13 points,
or 1.35%, to 28,308.46, the S&P 500 gained 34.12 points,
or 1.00%, to 3,431.28 and the Nasdaq Composite added
67.92 points, or 0.6%, to 11,379.72.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but healthcare
ended the session in the black.

Energy and financials enjoyed the largest
percentage gains.

Ahead of its 4-to-1 share split on Friday, Apple Inc
provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the
Nasdaq, its share price closing above $500 days after becoming
the first public U.S. company to top $2 trillion in market
value. The stock gained 1.2%.

Boeing Co gave the Dow its biggest lift, rising 6.4%.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
2.52-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.26-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 45 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 84 new highs and 36 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 8.94 billion shares, compared
with the 9.53 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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