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U.S. Stocks Pull Back Off Best Levels But Close Mostly Higher, Nasdaq Sets New Record High

wallstreet oct03 23jun20 lt

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday, extending the upward move seen over the course of the previous session. With the continued advance, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached another new record closing high.

The major averages pulled back off their best levels in late-day trading but remained firmly positive. The Nasdaq advanced 74.89 points or 0.7 percent to 10,131.37, while the Dow climbed 131.14 points or 0.5 percent to 26,156.10 and the S&P 500 rose 13.43 points or 0.4 percent to 3,131.29.

Apple (AAPL) helped to lead the Nasdaq higher, jumping by 2.1 percent to a new record high as traders reacted positively to news out of the tech giant's Worldwide Developers Conference.

The continued strength on Wall Street was also widely attributed to White House trade adviser Peter Navarro clarifying his remarks about the U.S.-China trade deal.

"It's over," Navarro said in response to a question about the trade deal in an interview on Fox News on Monday, adding that the "turning point" was China's failure to warn the United States about the coronavirus outbreak.

However, Navarro subsequently released a statement attempting to clarify his remarks, claiming his initial comments were "taken wildly out of context."

"They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place," Navarro said. "I was simply speaking to the lack of trust we now have of the Chinese Communist Party after they lied about the origins of the China virus and foisted a pandemic upon the world."

Trump also sought to reassure investors with a post on Twitter declaring the trade deal is "fully intact" and saying he hopes China will "continue to live up to the terms of the Agreement!"

Navarro's initial comments contributed to an overnight nosedive by stock futures but were clarified before impacting regular trading.

Stocks also benefited from upbeat economic data out of Europe, with a reading on private sector activity jumping to 47.5 in June from 31.9 in May.

A reading below 50 still indicates contraction, but Simon MacAdam, Senior Global Economist at Capital Economics, noted the readings on activity in developed markets have "come back a long way from their April lows."

"While activity is still considerably below normal levels, the surprising speed of the recovery poses an upside risk to some of our Q2 forecasts," MacAdam said.

In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department released a report showing a substantial increase in new home sales in the month of May.

The report said new home sales spiked by 16.6 percent to an annual rate of 676,000 in May from a significantly downwardly revised rate of 580,000 in April.

Economists had expected new home sales to jump 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 640,000 from the 623,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Gold stocks extended the rally seen over the two previous sessions, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 1.8 percent to its best closing level in a month.

The continued strength among gold stocks came as the price of the precious metal saw further upside, with gold for August delivery jumping $15.60 to $1,782 an ounce, the highest closing level since October 2012.

Significant strength was also visible among transportation stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain posted by the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

Steel and retail stocks also saw notable strength on the day, while some weakness emerged among networking and utilities stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 1.6 percent.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index spiked by 2.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries closed nearly flat for the third straight session after recovering from early weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, inched up by less than a basis point to 0.709 percent.

Looking Ahead

A lack of major U.S. economic data on Wednesday may lead traders to continue to focus on the latest coronavirus and overseas news.

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