S&P 500, Nasdaq hit records but off Tuesday highs as Powell delivers testimony

U.S. stocks traded mostly higher Tuesday, enough to carve out fresh records for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, with investors attributing optimism surrounding equities to signs of a slowdown of new cases of the deadly coronavirus in China.

Investors are also watching congressional testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who, in prepared remarks, reiterated that the central bank will be monitoring the novel viral outbreak.

What are major indexes doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.16%  rose 24 points, or 0.1%, to 29,305, briefly turning negative on the day after setting an intraday record of 29,415.39. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.47%  advanced 13 points or 0.4% to trade at 3,365 and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.64%  rose 46 points or 0.5% to 9,674.

What’s driving the market?

Powell is delivering remarks before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday, followed by an appearance Wednesday before the Senate Banking Committee. In testimony released ahead of the hearing,the Fed chairman said the central bank is monitoring the coronavirus impact on global economic growth, but added that the U.S. economy appeared resilient to overseas headwinds.

Investors have attributed the bullish trading in stocks to hopes that the Fed would ease policy if a global shock from the coronavirus made its way onto U.S. shores.

Live Blog: Fed’s Powell talks to Congress about outlook for U.S. economy

China’s National Health Commission on Tuesday said in its daily update that 108 deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,016 deaths in mainland China since the disease emerged in December. The number of new, confirmed cases fell to 2,478 from 3,062 a day earlier, bringing the total to 42,638 on the mainland, including some of whom have since recovered and been released from treatment.

“Sadly the coronavirus crisis

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