Dow up nearly 400 points as jobs and services data show signs economy likely near bottom

U.S. stocks finished higher Wednesday, adding to several sessions of gains as economic data pointed to less severe damage from the COVID-19 pandemic than feared, leaving major equity benchmarks at their loftiest levels since early March.

How did benchmarks perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +2.04% advanced 527.24 points, or 2.1%, to close at 26,269.89, while the S&P 500 SPX, +1.36% rose 42.05 points, or 1.4%, to end at 3,112.87, the highest finish for both benchmarks since March 4, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.77% rose 74.54 points, or 0.8%, ending at 9,682.91, or 1.4% away from its all-time closing high of 9,817.18 in February.

On Tuesday, the Dow rose 267.63 points, or 1.1%, to end at 25,742.65, marking its highest close since March 6, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index rose 25.09 points, or 0.8%, closing at 3,080.82, its loftiest finish since March 4, and the Nasdaq advanced 56.33 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 9,608.37, representing its best closing level since Feb. 20.

Read: The Nasdaq trades within 2% of a record high as the unbearable lightness of the stock market continues

What drove the market?

Markets have climbed a virtual wall of worry to head higher over the past several sessions, shrugging off social strife and demonstrations in major cities, testiness between the U.S. and China and the economic carnage wrought by a viral pandemic.

See: Amid disease, riots and rising U.S.-China tensions, the stock market keeps it cool

Stocks rose Wednesday after data from Automatic Data Processing showed private-sector employers shed 2.76 million jobs in May,

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