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Stocks Move Tepidly Higher as Virus Cases Climb

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Stocks were rising gently Wednesday, lead by tech companies. Coronavirus cases are inching higher in the U.S. and no catalyst for substantial gains emerged. 

All three major U.S. indices posted weak gains, with the S&P 500 up as much as 0.3% before that gain moderated to less than a tenth of a percentage point. 

Negatively, Johns Hopkins data show the 5-day moving average in daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. has hit 23,000, up from 17,000 weeks ago. Stocks had initially fallen sharply as cases rose and have since moved forward with gains, as lockdowns haven’t become a theme as of yet. 

Leading the market was tech stocks, which investors like to move onto during economic uncertainty, as many innovating tech companies can power through cyclical headwinds. The S&P 500 tech ETF  (XLK) , 40% weighted towards Apple  (AAPL)  and Microsoft  (MSFT) , rose 0.43%. On the defensive side, the New York Stock Exchange Healthcare index rose 2.39%, a sign of defensive investor positioning. 

Crude oil fell 1.4% to $37.80 a barrel and oil stocks were pressured. Bank stocks were also pressured, as was the S&P 500 value ETF  (VOOV) , which fell 0.24%. 

Potentially serving as either a positive or negative catalyst could be Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee at noon, where he will comment on the state of the economy and financial system. 

Watch TheStreet's Interview with Dr. Fauci

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