Dow, S&P, Nasdaq notch new records as health care, tech rally

Investors celebrate a trifecta of new records

Stocks rallied to fresh record highs Wednesday as the spread of the coronavirus slowed for a second day and investors shrugged off Bernie Sanders' victory at the New Hampshire primary.

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All three of the major U.S. averages closed at new highs with the Dow adding 275 points.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SP500S&P 5003333.69-26.78-0.80%
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES27686.91-104.53-0.38%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX10782.822689-185.53-1.69%

The rally was broad-based with all of the S&P's major sectors rising, led by tech and consumer discretionary. The exception was consumer staples which rose the least.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
XLKTECHNOLOGY SELECT SECTOR SPDR ETF111.38-2.04-1.80%
XLXn.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.
XLPCONSUMER STAPLES SELECT SECTOR SPDR ETF63.40-0.44-0.69%

Investors digested the latest on politics, with 87 percent of New Hampshire precincts reporting, Sanders had secured 25.75 percent of the votes, edging out former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (24.43 percent). Both candidates were on track to take nine delegates. Rounding out the top three was Sen. Amy Klobuchar who received 19.78 percent and six delegates.

Healthcare stocks also rose on the view from JPMorgan that Sanders’ failed to win the state by a double-digit margin, like he did in 2016, when he beat Hillary Clinton by more than 20 percentage points. United Health was the Dow's top performer.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
UNHUNITEDHEALTH GROUP INCORPORATED315.55-3.55-1.11%
HUMHUMANA415.77-3.99-0.95%
CICIGNA CORP.182.38-0.62-0.34%

Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases rose to about 45,000 worldwide as the death toll pushed past 1,100, according to the latest figures released Wednesday.

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Looking at stocks, Lyft reported a narrower-than-expected loss and quarterly revenue that topped $1 billion for the first time.

CVS earnings and revenue exceed expectations and the company raised its 2020 outlook. Revenue at CVS’ health insurance unit soared 175 percent versus a year ago, boosted by its Aetna purchase.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
LYFTLYFT INC.30.65-0.40-1.29%
CVSCVS HEALTH CORPORATION65.26-0.45-0.68%

Elsewhere, Bed Bath & Beyond shares crashed after the home-goods retailer reported same-store sales fell 5.4 percent during the first two months of its fiscal fourth quarter, December 2019 and January 2020, amid inventory issues, heavy promotions and declining in-store traffic.

ExxonMobil shares rallied along with oil prices, shrugging off a fire at the energy giant’s refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
BBBYBED BATH & BEYOND INC.11.93-0.73-5.77%
XOMEXXON MOBIL CORPORATION44.97+0.46+1.03%

Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 2.5 percent at $51.17 a barrel and gold was up 0.1 percent to $1,567.40 an ounce.

U.S. Treasurys were lower, pushing the 10-year yield up 4.3 basis points to 1.633 percent.

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE popped 0.47 percent, while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC added over 0.8 percent apiece.

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Markets gained across Asia with China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng both up 0.9 percent and Japan’s Nikkei higher by 0.7 percent.