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26 Aug 2021
2 min read

Stocks Push Higher & Investors Keep an Eye on Feds Symposium

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Key Takeaways

  • Stocks on Wall Street push higher for a fifth straight day, S&P500, Nasdaq notch records
  • Investors’ attention is now turning to the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole symposium

S&P500, Nasdaq Extend Record Runs Ahead of Jackson Hole Summit

Stocks across the board rose broadly on Wednesday for another session that lifted major US indexes to fresh closing records. Economically sensitive stocks like banks and materials helped sustain the rally in the S&P500 for a fifth straight day. Most of the broader index’s sectors ended in the green as investors maintained their focus on the annual Jackson Hole gathering of central bankers.

The S&P500 added 9.96 points, or 0.22%, to finish Wednesday trading at a fresh record of 4,496.19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 39.24 points, or 0.11%, to 35,405.50. The 30-stock index closed higher for a fourth consecutive day. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 22.06 points, or 0.15%, to settle at 15,041.86, a record close for the tech-focused benchmark.

The sustained upside swing that has been defining the market for the past several days was underpinned by the decision of lawmakers to move the $1tn infrastructure package for a vote in September. In addition, the full approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine helped keep investors’ optimism elevated.

Anticipation for Fed Symposium Among Stock Markets Participants

The major event for the week, the Jackson Hole symposium hosted by the Federal Reserve, is slated to kick off today. The highly-anticipated annual conference is expected to provide fresh insights into the Fed’s near-term policy changes. High-ranking officials, including Chairman Jerome Powell, will speak on the most important topics concerning the US economy. Mr. Powell’s speech is scheduled for Friday.

Discussions at the virtual meeting will include outlook for the economy, labor market growth, inflation expectations, and, what most traders and investors hope to hear, the Fed’s plans for tapering.

A Healing Economy?

Since the pandemic began in March last year, the US central bank has been injecting at least $120bn in monthly asset purchases as a way to maintain the upward trajectory of the economy and to help expand job growth.

According to the latest meeting minutes, the majority of Fed policymakers now consider the economy has healed enough for them to reduce the extraordinary monetary support by the end of the year.

Challenges, however, persist, including an uptick in Covid-19 cases that could cast a shadow over the accelerating economy. There are also some signs that the economic recovery is slowing down. These issues, and more, will be among the themes in focus at the three-day Federal Reserve summit.

European Markets

Overseas, European bourses on Wednesday closed mostly higher except for the German DAX, which slid about 0.3%. The pan-continental Stoxx 600 swung around the flat line but managed to end the day in the green, up to half a point, or less than 0.01%.

On Thursday, investors across the old continent appear to favor a risk-off approach as major European indexes hover slightly in the red.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies dipped in the early hours of the session on Thursday. The leading token declined about 3% to a current market price of $47,000. A day earlier, the token erased a 3.5% intraday loss and closed with a daily gain of about 1% to $48,600.

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