Nvidia, Microsoft power S&P 500's advance

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 rose on Wednesday for the ninth time in the past ten sessions on a boost from Nvidia and Microsoft, as data showed a moderate increase in U.S. private payrolls last month.

The best-performing S&P 500 constituent Nvidia Corp gained 2.7% after several brokerages hiked their price targets on its shares following the announcement of powerful gaming chips in collaboration with Micron Technology Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The Philadelphia SE chip index rose 1.6%.

U.S. private employers hired 428,000 workers in August, according to an ADP report, far below economists’ forecast of a 950,000 increase, signaling the labor market recovery was slowing as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and fiscal stimulus fades.

Focus will now be on the government’s comprehensive employment report, which is slated for Friday.

“It’s amazing how good our economy is doing given how we are partially shut down,” said Kevin Miller, chief investment officer of Minnesota-based E-Valuator Funds.

“The only thing that’s going to happen going forward is we will continually open up more and people go back to work and more money gets reinvested back into this economy.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s move to revamp its policy framework to support maximum employment has fueled a Wall Street rally, and sent the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to record highs.

The Dow is just about 2% below its all-time high on Feb. 12.

The healthcare and financial sectors, which have lagged the broader market this year, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

At 11:28 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 179.09 points, or 0.63%, at 28,824.75, the S&P 500 was up 18.52 points, or 0.53%, at 3,545.17. The Nasdaq Composite was down 34.08 points, or 0.29%, at 11,905.59.

Market experts have warned that at these elevated levels, Wall Street’s indexes are ripe for a pullback, especially in the weeks leading up to the U.S. presidential election in November.

President Donald Trump has overtaken Democratic rival Joe Biden to stand as the favorite to win the election on Europe-based betting exchange Betfair, while in a Reuters/Ipsos national opinion poll on Wednesday, 40% of registered voters supported Trump, compared with 47% who said they will vote for Biden.

High-flying shares of Apple Inc, Tesla Inc and Zoom Video Communications Inc dropped between 3.5% and 10.0%, curbing the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s advance.

Macy’s Inc added 1.9% after it reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, as shoppers stuck indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic bought more apparel using the department store chain’s app and website.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.25-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and matched them on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 64 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 116 new highs and 33 new lows.

Source: reuters.com

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