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U.S. stocks rise on tech rally

stocks rise

Gold topped $1,800 an ounce, while the dollar slumped

U.S. stocks rose as investors looked past tensions between Washington and Beijing and sought out tech companies thought to be insulated from rising coronavirus infections.

The S&P 500 Index climbed to a one-month high, while advances in high flying megacaps like Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. sent the Nasdaq Composite to a record. HSBC Holdings Plc slumped after a report that some of President Donald Trump’s advisers proposed a move to destabilize Hong Kong’s currency peg to punish China. Banks led European stocks lower.

Gold topped $1,800 an ounce, while Treasury yields inched higher and the dollar slumped.

Analysts are debating what comes next for the U.S. economy as states allow businesses to re-open, but with much of the world stuck at home, investors have been bidding up tech shares. That pattern appeared again Wednesday, with pandemic-sensitive sectors like airlines sinking even as online names held up.

While the market largely reflects investor optimism, the Covid situation is seemingly evolving by the hour and we’ve also reintroduced trade tensions to the mix, so there’s a bunch to digest, said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*Trade Financial.

Tensions between the U.S. and China have been growing after Beijing asserted broad new powers to rein in opposition in Hong Kong, pouring cold water over hopes the world’s largest economies will patch up relations soured by a lingering trade spat.

Stocks in Shanghai powered ahead for a seventh day. Investors have been drawn to China’s markets amid efforts by regulators to boost the attractiveness of stocks and hopes for an economic recovery.

Signals pertaining to the coronavirus have been mixed in recent days and weeks. The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. surpassed 3 million Wednesday, with data showing a 2% increase in cases nationally. However, the fatality rate has remained low, a data point flagged by optimists.

We’re sitting here kind of saying, ‘Well what comes next?’ And it’s not really clear, said Kathy Jones, chief fixed-income strategist for the Schwab Center for Financial Research. There’s a lot of question marks about how will this play out in the second half.

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