Nasdaq Closes at Record High as Trump Says Iran Appears to Back Off

The Nasdaq closes at a record high Wednesday after Donald Trump says Iran "appeared to be standing down" after Iranian missiles struck two American military bases in Iraq.
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  1. The Nasdaq closed at a record high after President Donald Trump said Iran "appeared to be standing down" and no Americans were hurt after Iranian missiles struck two American military bases in Iraq.
  2. Boeing fell Wednesday after a 737-800 crashed shortly after take-off in Tehran, killing all 176 passengers on board following what authorities said was an engine failure.
  3. Walgreens Boots Alliance fell sharply after posting weaker-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings and same-store sales in the U.S. missed analysts' forecasts.

The Nasdaq closed at a record high Wednesday after President Donald Trump said Iran "appeared to be standing down" and no Americans were hurt after Iranian missiles struck two American military bases in Iraq late Tuesday.

However, stocks pared their gains going into the close amid social media reports of rocket blasts near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. 

Trump said at a press conference earlier Wednesday that the U.S. was continuing to look at its options. He added that the United States will “immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime."

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Tuesday it fired 15 missiles at two U.S. air base installations in Iraq in retaliation for the drone strike Jan. 3 that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

"Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense," Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif said in a statement via his official Twitter account. "We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression."

Gold initially rallied past $1,600 an ounce for the first time since March 2013 and global oil prices rose immediately after the attacks. Both have sharply reversed in the wake of Trump's comments, with gold trading down more than 1% at around $1,556 an ounce, and West Texas Intermediate off 3.8%. The Gulf region is home to around half of the world's crude production.

The Nasdaq gained 0.67% to end at 9,129.24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 161 points, or 0.57%, to 28,745.09 and the S&P 500 rose 0.49% to 3,253.05.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq set all-time intraday highs in trading Wednesday.

Telsa (TSLA) - Get Report helped lead the Nasdaq's advance.

Also giving stocks a boost were jobs gains in the U.S. private sector in December. Automatic Data Processing said the U.S. added 202,000 jobs during the month, well above expectations of 165,000.

A Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after take-off in Tehran, killing all 176 passengers on board following what authorities said was an engine failure.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737-800NG taking off from Tehran and bound for Kiev, was carrying 167 passengers from seven countries and nine crew members, Ukrainian officials said, and had last passed a technical inspection as recently as Jan. 6.

Boeing said in a statement that "This is a tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers, and their families. We are in contact with our airline customer and stand by them in this difficult time. We are ready to assist in any way needed."

The crash is the latest in a series of disasters for Boeing, including two fatal accidents involving its flagship 737 MAX between 2018 and 2019 that triggered the grounding in mid-March of the entire MAX fleet and the ultimate firing of CEO Dennis Muilenberg.

The 737-800 doesn't have the same software system as the 737 MAX that has been identified as the cause of the crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that took the lives of 346 people.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) - Get Report declined sharply after posting weaker-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings. International pharmacy sales at the drugstore chain slumped and same-store sales in the U.S. missed forecasts. 

Constellation Brands (STZ) - Get Report , the wine and beer importer, reported better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings, even as it posted another loss related to its investment in Canadian pot company Canopy Growth (CGC) - Get Report.

Lennar (LEN) - Get Report, the homebuilder, posted fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street estimates as deliveries and new orders in the period jumped.

Macy's (M) - Get Report posted better-than-expected same-store sales for holiday period.