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US: Nasdaq ends at another record as stocks extend rally

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The Nasdaq finished at its third straight record on Wednesday as US stocks shrugged off lackluster employment data and advanced on optimism over additional fiscal support.

[NEW YORK] The Nasdaq finished at its third straight record on Wednesday as US stocks shrugged off lackluster employment data and advanced on optimism over additional fiscal support.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average led major indices, climbing 1.4 per cent to 27,201.52.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent to 3,327.77, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5 per cent to 10,998.40.

Payroll services firm ADP reported on Wednesday the United States added a disappointing 167,000 private sector jobs in July.

A report from the Institute for Supply Management showed better than expected business activity in July, although the employment component of the report was poor.

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But stocks benefited from expectations Washington will produce another package of fiscal support for the coronavirus-battered US economy. Key lawmakers have signaled progress on the talks, but have yet to resolve partisan disagreements.

"Most people expect some sort of an agreement, maybe by the end of this week," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research. "Otherwise, the Congress will have to stick around and they don't want to give up their summer vacation."

Sentiment was also boosted by signs of forward movement on vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson rose 0.8 per cent after announcing it agreed to supply the US government with 100 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine following regulatory approval in a US$1 billion deal.

That announcement came after Novavax announced positive clinical results of another vaccine candidate, boosting shares by more than 10 per cent.

Disney was another big gainer, climbing 8.8 per cent despite reporting a US$4.7 billion quarterly loss due to the coronavirus, which emptied theme parks and battered the live sports industry that feeds its ESPN telecasts.

However, investors focused on strong results at its Disney+ streaming service, which already has more than 100 million paid subscribers.

Airline shares also rallied following a report that 16 Republican Senators backed another round of payroll assistance funding to avert mass layoffs in the industry.

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines all won at least three per cent, while Boeing jumped 5.6 per cent.

AFP

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