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Portfolio > Economy & Markets > Stocks

Stocks Climb to All-Time Highs Amid Treatment Hope

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bloomberg market chart of stocks for Aug. 24, 2020

U.S. stocks rose to record highs and bonds fell on signs that the Trump administration may fast-track vaccines and treatments for coronavirus.

The S&P 500 notched another all-time high as optimism mounted that the virus wouldn’t hamper growth. The Nasdaq Composite also closed a record for a second consecutive session.

Companies that benefit from a more robust economic restart led the gains. Carnival Corp. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. surged more than 9%, while Kohl’s Corp. and Gap Inc. jumped at least 7%.

Casinos, carmakers and homebuilders joined the rally. Of the 11 S&P industry sectors, only health care finished lower.

“The market is now working out well into next year — expecting a vaccine or several, a couple of important therapeutic remedies as well, probably continued government aid, and people going back to work and children going back to school,” said David Rainey, co-portfolio manager of the Hennessy Focus Fund.

Market Momentum

Market sentiment was supported by news over the weekend that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working to expand access to a virus treatment involving blood plasma from recovered patients.

Separately, the Financial Times reported that the Trump administration is considering whether to bypass regulatory standards to accelerate an experimental vaccine.

European shares ended higher, with AstraZeneca Plc climbing 2%. Treasury yields rose and the dollar strengthened, while gold traded near $1,950 an ounce.

Elsewhere, Asian stocks got a boost after a report that White House officials have reassured American businesses that a ban on its WeChat app won’t be as broad as feared. WeChat owner Tencent Holdings Ltd. jumped the most in a month, gaining $37 billion.

Investors will be focused this week on the Federal Reserve’s annual Economic Policy Symposium — typically held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak on Thursday about the Fed’s long-awaited monetary policy framework review, which has focused on a new inflation strategy.

Meanwhile, storms Marco and Laura are rolling toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, where they’ll come ashore as hurricanes as soon as Monday.

Almost 58% of crude output in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico production has been shut down as the threat prompted evacuations of off-shore energy platforms and set residents and officials on edge from Texas to Florida.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Earnings from companies including, ICBC, PetroChina, HP Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Best Buy and Dollar General.
  • The U.S. Republican National Convention begins Monday.
  • The Bank of Korea sets monetary policy and will hold a briefing on Thursday.
  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks at event on Thursday.

These are the main moves in markets:


  • S&P 500 Index climbed 1% to 3,431.41 as of 4:00 p.m. New York time, the highest on record with the largest increase in more than a week;
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1.4% to 28,309.08, the highest in six months on the biggest jump in almost three weeks;
  • Thee Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.6% to 11,379.72, the highest on record;
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 1.6% to 370.85, the highest in more than a week on the biggest surge in almost two weeks.


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.1% to 1,174.51, the highest in more than a week;
  • The euro decreased 0.1% to $1.179, the weakest in more than a week;
  • The Japanese yen weakened 0.2% to 105.97 per dollar.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 0.65%, the biggest rise in more than a week;
  • Germany’s 10-year yield increased two basis points to -0.49%, the first advance in more than a week;
  • Britain’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to 0.213%.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude increased 0.2% to $42.41 a barrel, the first advance in a week;
  • Gold depreciated 0.7% to $1,927.26 an ounce, the weakest in more than a week;
  • Silver depreciated 1.3% to $26.45 per ounce, the weakest in more than a week.

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