S&P flirts with record as tech stocks drive coronavirus recovery

Tesla announced a 5-for-1 split helping power the Nasdaq

U.S. equity markets rallied on Wednesday and the S&P 500 just missed closing in record territory.

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The benchmark index briefly ticked above its record-high close before finishing up 1.4% at 3380.36, less than six points away from its February peak.

Big tech contributed to the gains as the Nasdaq Composite rose by 2.13% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 289.55 points, or 1.05%.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES30814.26-177.26-0.57%
SP500S&P 5003768.25-27.29-0.72%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX12998.502287-114.14-0.87%

Investors weighed progress in the race for a coronavirus vaccine along with ongoing discussions for the next round of stimulus. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Democrats to pass the next round.

"My view on negotiations is you agree on the things that you can agree on, half legislation that's good for the American public, and then come back for another bill," he told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo.

MNUCHIN URGES DEMS TO PASS $1T CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS DEAL BUT WON'T SPECULATE ON AID COMPROMISE

Looking at stocks, Tesla's monster 5-for-1 stock split, had investors celebrating. It will be distributed at the close of trading on August 28. Shares of the electric-car maker were up 229 percent this year through Tuesday.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA INC.826.16-18.84-2.23%

Meanwhile, Moderna Inc. agreed to a deal worth up to $1.5 billion to supply the U.S. government with at least 100 million doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, which began a Phase 3 study late last month.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
MRNAMODERNA INC.129.65-0.07-0.05%

Eastman Kodak Co. CEO Jim Continenza said the company has “more work” to do to secure a $765 million government loan to aid its pivot into the pharmaceutical industry. Kodak posted a quarterly loss of 8 cents per share as revenue fell 31 percent from a year ago to $213 million.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
KODKEASTMAN KODAK CO.8.14-0.19-2.28%

Elsewhere, Overstock.com Inc. priced a 2.1 million-share offering at $84.50 per share, 8.15% below Tuesday’s closing level.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
OSTKOVERSTOCK COM59.52-4.55-7.10%
VIACVIACOMCBS INC.45.30-0.70-1.52%

Viacom CBS shares were in focus after Chairman Emeritus Sumner Redstone died on Tuesday evening. He was 97.

Looking at commodities, gold added $2.30 to $1,934.90 an ounce while West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed $1.06 cents to $42.67 a barrel.

U.S. Treasurys slid, causing the yield on the 10-year note to climb to  0.669%.

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In Europe, Britain’s FTSE led the gains, trading up 2.04%, despite the UK economy contracting by 20.4% in the three months through June and entering a recession. France’s CAC and Germany’s DAX were higher by 0.9% and 0.86%, respectively.

Asian markets finished mixed, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng adding 1.42%, Japan’s Nikkei rallying 0.41% and China’s Shanghai Composite slipping 0.63%.