Nasdaq, S&P 500 Close at Record Highs, Dow Goes Flat

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq close at record highs Tuesday, while the Dow ends flat.
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  1. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs Tuesday, while the Dow ended flat as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank was monitoring risks from the coronavirus on the U.S. and world economies.
  2. Official coronavirus update: 1,018 deaths, more than 43,100 infected.
  3. Sprint is Real Money's Stock of the Day after its long-awaited merger with T-Mobile US TMUS finally won approval from a federal court judge.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average sputtered, as forecasts for China's growth were slashed because of the coronavirus and as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank was monitoring risks from the virus on the U.S. and world economies.

“In particular, we are closely monitoring the emergence of the coronavirus, which could lead to disruptions in China that spill over to the rest of the global economy,” Powell said in prepared remarks ahead of testimony Tuesday before the House Financial Services Committee.

Powell didn't specifically say whether the coronavirus outbreak changed the Fed's expectations for U.S. economic growth.

When asked about the impact from the virus on the U.S. economy Powell said it was "too early to say." 

“The (Federal Open Market Committee) believes that the current stance of monetary policy will support continued economic growth, a strong labor market and inflation returning to the committee’s symmetric 2% objective,” Powell said. “As long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with this outlook, the current stance of monetary policy will likely remain appropriate.”

The Nasdaq closed up 0.11% to 9,638.94, while the S&P 500 advanced 0.17% to 3,357.75.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished flat at 29,276.34. The blue-chip index set an all-time intraday high earlier in the session of 29,415.39. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 also set intraday highs.

Under Armour (UAA) - Get Report was the Dow's biggest loser after posting a surprise fourth-quarter loss and forecasting weaker 2020 sales and near-term uncertainty linked to China's coronavirus.

"The coronavirus clearly presents a risk to the global economy - the Chinese economy is four times greater than it was during the SARS outbreak and China has established itself as the most critical link in the global supply chain," said Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist of Quill Intelligence and a former adviser to former Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher. "With a city the size of Sweden’s economy offline for a third week, it would seem rate cuts are a given, which throws out Powell’s mid-cycle adjustment soft landing scenario."

China's National Health Commission said the official number of deaths from the virus rose to 1,018, while the number of new infections has climbed beyond 43,000. 

With factories shuttered, businesses closed and travel affected, China's first-quarter GDP likely will slow considerably, or possibly even contract, if the spread of the virus continues to accelerate into March, analysts have cautioned.

T-Mobile US TMUS led both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 after its long-awaited merger with Sprint S finally won approval from a federal court judge over objections of several state attorneys general. Sprint also surged.

"Having been tasked with predicting the future state of the national and local (retail wireless) markets both with and without the merger, and relying on both the evidence at trial and the various judicial tools available, the Court concludes that the proposed merger is not reasonably likely to substantially lessen competition," wrote Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S. District Court for Southern New York in his 173-page ruling.

Hasbro (HAS) - Get Report jumped on Tuesday after the toy and game company posted earnings that blew past analysts’ forecasts amid an exceptionally strong holiday season driven by sales of its "Frozen 2," "Avengers" and "Spider-Man" franchised toys and dolls.

Facebook (FB) - Get Report received a rare bear call after analysts at Pivotal Research downgraded shares of the social-media giant to sell from hold just weeks after cutting it to hold.