Dow logs best gain in 7 weeks; S&P 500 and Nasdaq end at records as investors focus on COVID-19 treatments

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U.S. equity benchmark indexes booked their best gains in weeks on Wednesday, with the main gauges ending at or near record territory, as investors drew hope from progress in the development of tests and vaccines for COVID-19, along with the potential for another fiscal stimulus package in Washington. The gains came despite highflying stocks Apple Inc. and Tesla Inc. notching their worst declines in a recent stretch of bullishness around momentum-driven plays. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 454 points, or 1.6%, at 29,100, moving the blue-chip benchmark to within about 450 points of its all-time closing high at 29,551.42 and producing its best daily rise since July 14. The S&P 500 index closed up 1.5% at 3,580 to register its 22nd record close of 2020 and mark its best day since June 16, propelled higher by surge in utilities , up 3.1%, and materials , rising 2.3%. All 11 of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors finished in positive territory except for energy , which booked a decline of 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite index also closed at a record, marking its 42nd of the year, with a 1% gain to finish above psychologically significant level at 12,000. The moves came despite a retreat in leadership from the largest capitalization stocks and data that was mixed, including a report on private-sector employment from ADP, which showed 28,000 private-sector jobs were created in August, missing expectations for a gain of 900,000 jobs, according to a consensus of estimates surveyed by Econoday.
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