Nasdaq Posts Record Close, Stocks End Higher, on Stimulus Talks

The Nasdaq sees another record close as Democrats and Republicans continue their economic-stimulus-package negotiations.
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Stocks finished higher Tuesday after wavering earlier in the session as Democrats and Republicans met again to work on a coronavirus-related economic-stimulus package. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher for a third day, finishing up 164 points, or 0.62%, to 26,828, while the S&P 500 was up 0.36% to 3,306.61. 

The Nasdaq finished up 0.35% to 10,941,17, a record close.

"Selectivity within the tech sector is key for further upside growth," Andrea Bevis, senior vice president at UBS Private Wealth Management, said.

"Our most preferred themes are e-commerce, healthtech, fintech and digital data. We expect the market to remain fragile until there is more certainty on the future path of the coronavirus."

A number of major earnings reports also are due after the closing bell, including Walt Disney , Activision Blizzard  (ATVI) - Get Report and Twilio  (TWLO) - Get Report.

Stocks ended higher on Monday, the first trading day of August, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq reaching an intraday high and hitting its 29th record close of the year.

Lawmakers are set to revive talks on the next round of stimulus aimed at cushioning the impact of Covid-19 on the domestic economy, which has put more than 30 million Americans out of work and closed businesses, factories and restaurants.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, were scheduled to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader today at 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC News reported.

"They’re sticking to their position,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the GOP, according to Politico, and Pelosi warned Democrats that a deal likely won’t be reached until next week.

At the end of the week the Senate is scheduled to take a one-month recess, but The New York Times reports that whether the lawmakers will leave Washington without a deal is unclear.

The gap between the two sides is a factor of three. Democrats are proposing a $3 trillion plan that includes restoring $600-per-week jobless-aid payments and extending them through January. 

Those payments expired Friday. Republicans have offered a $1 trillion package that slashed those payments.

In economic news, the Commerce Department said factory orders rose 6.2%, boosted by a surge in demand for motor vehicles, after rebounding 7.7% in May. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast that orders advanced 5% in June.

President Donald Trump stoked international tensions after he demanded that taxpayers receive a "substantial portion" of any sale of the American operations of TikTok, the China-based social media app. The president late last week had ordered it to be sold.

In response, the state-backed China Daily newspaper said Tuesday that "China will by no means accept the ‘theft’ of a Chinese technology company, and it has plenty of ways to respond if the administration carries out its planned smash and grab."

Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report said Sunday that it's looking at buying TikTok's U.S. business after Trump ordered it divested amid concern about data privacy linked to its China-based owners, ByteDance. That followed an investigation by Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. 

Shares of the software giant ended lower Tuesday. 

Take-Two Interactive Software  (TTWO) - Get Report shares rose after the videogame publisher beat Wall Street's first-quarter revenue estimates. 

The number of coronavirus cases reached a worldwide total of 18.3 million, with a global death toll of 694,715. The U.S. continues to have the highest total at 4.7 million, and as well as the highest number of deaths.

BP  (BP) - Get Report shares were climbing even after the London-based energy giant reported a second-quarter loss and halved its quarterly dividend.

Cruise lines - Carnival  (CCL) - Get Report Norwegian  (NCLH) - Get Report, and Royal Caribbean RCL - ended higher.

Airlines were also rising, with JetBlue  (JBLU) - Get Report, Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report, and United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Report posting gains.

Ford Motor Co.  (F) - Get Report said Tuesday that CEO Jim Hackett, 65, will retire from the iconic automaker in October after three years at the helm. He will be succeeded by the current chief operating officer, Jim Farley, 58.

Diageo  (DEO) - Get Report ADRs fell after the London liquor producer reported fiscal 2020 declines in sales and earnings as demand from bars dropped thanks to coronavirus-related lockdowns.