Apple and tech stocks drive US markets to record highs

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4 pm: Nasdaq, S&P 500 hit all-time records


The S&P 500 gained 1% to 3,431 as the tech-heavy Nasdaq finished up 68 points, or 0.6%, to 11,379. Both hit record highs in Monday’s session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 378 points, or 1.4%, to 28,308.


Leading the way were big tech players, including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which saw its stock increase 1.2% to $503.43.


2.50 pm: US stocks up


Wall Street shares were consolidating gains in afternoon trade in New York.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average added over 241 points at 28,171. The broader S&P 500 gained over 21 points at 3,418. The Nasdaq exchange added 29 points at 11,341.


The gold price lagged though on the day, It was down 0.64% to stand at US$1,934 an ounce.


1:10 pm: Wall Street shares still green


US stocks were still going strong just after lunch, with Apple shares still a focus as the stock moved towards new highs.


Shares in the tech giant reached as high as US$515.14 in early deals, before easing back to the US$505 mark. It comes ahead of a 4:1 stock split and after Morgan Stanley lifted its target price to US$520 from US$431.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 257 points at 28,188. The S&P 500 added 26 at 3,423. The Nasdaq added nearly 71 points to 11,382


Noon ET: FTSE 100 closes higher


FTSE 100 index raced Monday to a positive close, joining global indices in heading higher.


Britain’s index of leading shares closed up over 102 points, or 1.71% at 6,104.


Midcap FTSE 250 also went higher, adding over 107 points to close at 17,685.


“The optimism is being driven by a report that President Trump is looking to fast-track the approval of a drug that has the potential to be a vaccine for Covid-19,” noted analyst David Madden, at CMC Markets.


AstraZeneca and Oxford University are working on the drug in question, and Mr Trump is apparently keen to get the regulatory approval sped up. The move could come in October, one month ahead of the US presidential election.”


US and Canada 4:20 pm/11:20 am EST


Wall Street stocks were a sea of green in early deals. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 280 points at 28,210. The S&P 500 added over 22 at 3,410. The tech heavy Nasdaq exchange was up over 33 at 11,345. In Toronto, the S&P/TSX index advanced nearly 88 points at 16,605.


3:30 pm/10:30 am EST: Proactive North America headlines:


Thoughtful Brands Inc (CSE:TBI) (FWB:1WZ1:GR) (OTCQB:PEMTF says its subsidiary Ecommerce Tech has acquired a key e-Commerce software platform


Nomad Royalty Company (TSE:NSR) (OTCQX:NSRXF) to buy Coral Gold Resources for US$45.8M


AgraFlora Organics International Inc (CSE:AGRA) (OCTMKTS:AGFAF) expects first harvest at its Delta greenhouse in fourth quarter 2020


GlobeX Data Ltd (OTCQB:SWISF) (CSE:SWIS) says SekurSafe solution selected by RE/MAX marketplace for secure email and data management


Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC) appoints Dr Michael Dugan as chief medical officer and medical director


Pacific Empire Minerals Corp (CVE:PEMC) (OTCQB:PEMSF) mobilizes geophysical crew to Jean Marie project


Benchmark Metals (CVE:BNCH) says increased financing allows it to lift drill program to 100,000 metres and begin planning feasibility study


Killi Ltd (CVE:MYID) (OTCMKTS:MYIDF) says CEO featured in ‘Dark Reading’ magazine discussing using ‘data’ for good’ to control coronavirus pandemic


Humanigen Inc (OTCPINK:HGEN) taps drug development expert Edward Jordan for chief commercial officer role ahead of lenzilumab launch


Medexus Inc (CVE:MDP) (OTCQX:PDDPF) says its joint-disease drug added to public drug plan in Quebec and will enjoy insurance coverage


9:43 am: Wall Street starts higher


As expected, the main US indices kicked off Monday’s session in the green amid optimism over a potential coronavirus vaccine.


Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.61% at 28,101 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.76% to 3,423 and the Nasdaq rose 1.18% to 11,445.


The bullish sentiment has put the Dow around 5% off its all-time high reached in February, while the other two indices both hit intraday highs at the open. Monday is also the day of record for Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) four-to-one stock split.


7:40am: Wall Street heads for higher open


US indices are expected to add to Friday’s gains this afternoon.


The Dow Jones industrial average is tipped to open at around 28,176, up 246 points.


The S&P 500 is expected to start at 3,424, up 27 points while the NASDAQ Composite is seen starting at 11,670, up 358 points.


With the coronavirus (COVID-19) very much in the news after President Trump’s latest blast at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which he effectively accused of allowing people to die as part of a bizarre campaign to sabotage his election campaign, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported that the USA reported 34,600 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, down 17.8% on the 42,000 new cases reported a week earlier.


“Over the past week, confirmed new cases have fallen by 16%. The seven-day average number of new cases is falling steadily and now stands at 42.6K, down 37% from the July 22 peak, 67.3K,”observed Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics.


“Some of the fall in confirmed cases, however, reflects the drop in testing since its mid-July peak. The seven-day moving average number of tests has fallen by some 18% from the peak, and the proportion of positive tests appears to be stuck at just over 6%.


“Still, the reported drop in new cases is accompanied by a steady downward trend in hospitalisations, and deaths are nudging down slowly too. Hospitalisations in Arizona, at the leading edge of the second wave in the South, are down by 68% from their mid-July peak,” Shepherdson added.


In contrast, UK cases have risen steadily in recent weeks, but the national data appear to have flattened over the past week, Shepherdson noted.


“This might not last, given substantial outbreaks in some cities and the impending re-opening of schools, later than in many continental European countries,” he remarked.


Traders in the US are waiting for the Republican party’s Trumpian lovefest to start this week as well as the annual meeting – to be held virtually this year – of central bankers (not [necessarily] rhyming slang) in Jackson Hole.


“With the recent FOMC [Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee] minutes failing to ignite any spark around new stimulus measures or extraordinary measures coming into play, there is a feeling we could see Powell [the Fed’s president] lay out a strategy of average inflation targeting, which could allow for above 2% inflation to account for the below target levels we are currently seeing. Such a move to allow inflation to run above target would likely extend the amount of time the Fed could retain an ultra-easy monetary policy stance without being hamstrung by rising inflation,” suggested Joshua Mahony at IG Group.


Four things to watch for on Monday:


  • More share price reaction from pharmaceutical stocks after Donald Trump said he may order the FDA to approve a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and distributed by UK pharma firm AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) (NYSE:AZN).
  • In a similar vein, recent FDA approval for the use of convalescent plasma, an antibody-rich blood component taken from recovered coronavirus patients, could also boost sentiment further if more news on the impact of the approval arises
  • Any updates ahead of the Jackson Hole conference, hosted by the Kansas City Fed, which starts on Thursday and could shed some light on the next moves from the Federal Reserve as it continues to grapple with the economic fallout of the pandemic
  • Possible political developments ahead of the start of the Republican National Convention, which kicks off on Monday, as well as any fallout from the resignation of Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway

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