S&P 500 Posts Record Close as Wall Street Monitors Stimulus Talks

The S&P 500 posts its second straight record close. The broader market ends mixed.
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The S&P 500 posted its second straight record close in mixed trading Wednesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for stimulus talks to begin.

The S&P 500 finished up 0.18% to 3,669, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59 points, or 0.2%, to close at 29,883.

The Nasdaq, which closed at a record on Tuesday, fell 0.05% to 12,349.

Pelosi and Schumer said a $908 billion aid proposal released Tuesday from a bipartisan group of senators should serve as the basis for relief negotiations.

Equities also were getting a lift from higher oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 1.75% to $45.33 a barrel on expectations that the OPEC+ alliance would extend production cuts into next year. Additionally, the Energy Information Administration reported that crude inventories fell by 700,000 barrels in the week ended Nov. 27. 

Chevron  (CVX) - Get Report was a top gainer on the Dow, finishing up 2.8% on Wednesday.

Wall Street earlier had traded lower after a report from ADP said the U.S. added 307,000 private-sector jobs in November, missing economists' estimates of 405,000. It was the smallest gain since July. 

The report is a precursor to the official U.S. jobs report, which will be released Friday. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect the U.S. to have added 441,500 jobs in November, down from 638,000 the previous month, with the unemployment rate ticking lower to 6.8%.

Stocks finished higher Tuesday with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both closing at records as Wall Street came off a November that was its best monthly performance since April.

Driving the stock market gains have been breakthroughs on the creation of a coronavirus vaccine. In the latest development, a Covid-19 shot from Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report and its German partner BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report was approved in the U.K., making Great Britain the first western country to grant approval for a vaccine.

Pfizer rose 3.5% Wednesday after the U.K. approved the coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, reaching a decision ahead of expected approvals from the U.S. and the European Union.

The shot will be available in Britain starting next week.

Jim Cramer Says Markets Are Not Giving Pfizer News Reaction It Deserves

Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been commenting on the need for further economic stimulus as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage and hospitalizations in several states hit all-time highs.

Biden, who unveiled his economic team Tuesday, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury secretary nominee, told reporters that "help is on the way" as he promised to roll out a new support package shortly after taking office in January.

Shares of Salesforce.com  (CRM) - Get Report ended down 8.6% after the cloud giant said it was buying Slack Technologies  (WORK) - Get Report for cash and stock in a deal valued at $27.7 billion.

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