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S&P 500 and Nasdaq Close at Records on Economic Data

Stocks finish higher, bolstered by encouraging economic reports and strong showings by Tesla and Apple.

For the second time this week, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq finished at records, amid encouraging economic reports and strong showings by Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report and Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report.

The S&P 500 on Friday finished up 0.34% to 3,397, while the Nasdaq climbed 0.42% to 11,311.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 190 points, or 0.69%, to 27,930. 

Stocks on Thursday finished higher, with the Nasdaq reaching a record close on solid gains from Apple and Tesla. 

Both companies reached intraday highs Friday.

Tesla shares raced to a fresh record Friday, above $2,000 a share, as investors positioned themselves for a 5-for-1 split of one of Wall Street's hottest, and most expensive, stocks.

Holders of record at the end of the Friday session will receive four additional shares of Tesla stock for each one they currently hold, with the distribution set for Aug. 28. The split at the same time reduces Tesla's stock price proportionately.

Apple reached another new all-time high ahead of its plan to execute a 4-for-1 stock split at the end of the month.

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Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report and its German partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR Report said their Covid-19 vaccine candidate was on track for regulatory review as soon as October. Both companies were climbing Friday.

The companies said the vaccine "was well tolerated with mild to moderate fever in fewer than 20% of the participants."

More than 160 coronavirus vaccines are under development worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Amazon’s  (AMZN) - Get, Inc. Report chief executive of worldwide consumer, Jeff Wilke, will retire from the online retail colossus in the first quarter of 2021, the company said in a regulatory filing on Friday. 

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Dave Clark, currently senior vice president of the Seattle giant's retail operations, will succeed Wilke after he retires, the company said.

Sales of existing homes climbed 24.7% in July compared with June, the National Association of Realtors said Friday. This was the strongest monthly gain in the survey's history, dating back to 1968, and the highest sales pace since December 2006.

IHS Markit said its flash U.S. Composite PMI Index rose to a reading of 54.7 this month from 50.3 in July as companies in both the manufacturing and services sectors saw a resurgence in new orders.

The news follows Thursday's reading of weekly jobless claims, which rose past 1.1 million, and a weaker-than-expected outcome from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve business index.

Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president Thursday evening, saying in his acceptance speech that President Donald Trump has "failed in his most basic duty to the nation. He's failed to protect us. He's failed to protect America, and my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable."

"With Biden officially accepting the Democratic nomination last night, the election now comes into focus for investors,” said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy for E-Trade. 

"There’s been no shortage of polarizing events this year - all setting the stage for one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent memory."

Loewengart added the election "is really just one of many factors seen and unseen that move the market day-to-day." 

"And while either candidate’s presidency could present unique risks or rewards, the tried-and-true strategy for sound investing is to stick to personal timelines, long-term goals, and risk tolerance," he said.

Foot Locker  (FL) - Get Foot Locker, Inc. Report posted stronger-than-expected second-quarter earnings Friday, and reinstated its dividend and share buyback programs. 

The moves come as the New York athletic-apparel retailer looks to move past store closures and slumping demand triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Deere & Co.  (DE) - Get Deere & Company Report posted stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings Friday, and improved its full-year forecasts, as cost cutting and stabilizing farm sales supported the industrial equipment group's bottom line.

XPeng said Friday that it planned to raise up to $1.11 billion in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The Guangzhou, China, electric-vehicle producer said it hoped to sell 85 million American depositary shares at $11 to $13 each.