Nasdaq at Record, Stocks Close Higher Amid Virus Spike

Stocks end higher as concerns persist that the coronavirus outbreak could stall an economic recovery and as U.S.-China tensions ramp up.
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Stocks finished higher Wednesday amid persistent concern that the coronavirus outbreak could stall an economic recovery and as U.S.-China tensions ramped up.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 177 points, or 0.68%, to 26,067 and the S&P 500 rose 0.78% to 3,169. 

The Nasdaq rose 1.44% to close at a record 10,492.

Stocks fell Tuesday and the S&P 500 ended a five-day winning streak after optimism about a swift economic recovery waned amid a resurgence of the virus. 

The U.S. crossed more than 3 million confirmed cases on Tuesday, and set a single-day record of more than 60,000.

"The market is continuing to find a tangible direction amid a fair amount of volatility," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E-Trade. 

"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." 

Atlanta Federal Reserve President Ralph Bostic told a business panel Tuesday that "business leaders are getting worried and consumers are getting worried' with respect to the resurgence in U.S. infections.

"There is a real sense this might go on longer than we have planned for," Bostic added.

Bostic's remarks, however, were somewhat softened by Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, who told CNN International that "there's more that we can do, there's more that we will do" in terms of monetary accommodation if the economic recovery were to stall in the coming weeks.

Tensions between the U.S. and China have been rising as each levels criticism over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, and China’s new security laws in Hong Kong.

China on Wednesday said it would restrict visas for U.S. officials for what it called “egregious” behavior regarding Tibet, Bloomberg reported, following a similar move announced by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Tuesday.