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Dow crosses 29K, nears February highs

Jonathan Garber

Stocks soared Wednesday, picking up steam during the final hour of trading, amid more optimism a coronavirus vaccine could come as early as the fall, according to a New York Times report that cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 454 points, or 1.6%, and closed above 29,100 to finish less than 300 points below its record high. Coca-Cola Co. and IBM Corp. helped lead the gains.

The Nasdaq blew past the 12,000 level, rising 0.98%, to book its fastest 1,000 point jump on record. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 rose 1.54%, hitting its own record high.

Looking at the economy, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book showed that economic activity "increased among most Districts, but gains were generally modest and activity remained well below levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This came as investors shrugged off the ADP employment report which showed private payrolls grew by 428,000 workers in August, missing the 950,000 that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. The Labor Department will release the August jobs report ahead of Friday’s opening bell.

Factory orders for July rose more than expected.

In stock news, Tesla Inc. sank nearly 6 percent after its biggest outside shareholder, Edinburgh-based investment management firm Baillie Gifford, lowered its ownership to below 5% from 6.32%.

BIG TESLA INVESTOR CUTS STAKE

However, the firm noted the change was due to the recent gains in the share price and weightings for the fund and confirmed management remains a long-term bull.

“We remain very optimistic about the future of the company" Baillie Gifford investment manager James Anderson said in a statement.

In retailing, Macy’s Inc. lost $431 million in the three months through June amid a faster-than-expected recovery of in-store sales and continued strength from its e-e-commerce business. The department store chain posted a $3.58 billion loss during the previous quarter.

AMC Entertainment Holdings will reopen 140 more theaters by Sept. 4, meaning roughly 70% of the theater chain's locations across the country will be operating.

DraftKings Inc. named NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan as a special adviser to the board of directors. Jordan will take an equity stake in the company in exchange for his guidance and strategic advice.

Exxon Mobil Corp. is considering cuts to its global workforce after announcing a voluntary lay-off program in Australia.

Looking at commodities, gold slid $33.80 to $1,934.40 an ounce while West Texas Intermediate crude oil was little changed at $41.51 per barrel.

U.S. Treasurys slid, pushing the 10-year note yield up to 0.650%.

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European markets were higher across the board with Germany’s DAX up 2.07%, France’s CAC advancing 1.9% and Britain’s FTSE gaining 1.35%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei added 0.47% while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.17% and 0.26%, respectively.

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