US stocks edge higher to new records as investors grow anxious over COVID variant spread

NYSE Trader surprised
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 20, 2020 Lucas Jackson/Reuters
  • US stocks edged higher as investors grew anxious over the spread of the Delta variant of COVID.
  • The S&P 500 and Nasdaq continued their winning streak to close at record highs.
  • “The Delta variant, which is more transmissible, is causing a parabolic rise in cases in the UK and Israel,” Fundstrat’s Tom Lee said.
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The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 edged higher to close at new records on Tuesday, continuing their four-day win streak even as investors grow anxious about the increased spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Technology stocks led the market higher in Tuesday’s trading session, as the reopening trade continued to cool down as as the yield of 10-Year US Treasuries remained below 1.50%.

“The Delta variant, which is more transmissible, is causing a parabolic rise in cases in the UK and Israel,” Fundstrat’s Tom Lee explained in a note to clients on Tuesday. To combat the variant, Israel is requiring mask-wearing again, and Australia has implemented new lockdown measures.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Tuesday:

Facebook surpassed a $1 trillion valuation on Monday for the first time ever after a court dismissed 2 antitrust lawsuits against the company. The stock finished Monday’s trading session up about 4%.

Cathie Wood’s Ark Invest has filed with the SEC to create a bitcoin ETF that would trade under the ticker symbol “ARKB.” The SEC is currently sitting on nearly 10 bitcoin ETF applications, but has not yet signaled that they will be approved.

US banks have authorized up to $20 billion in new stock buybacks and increased their quarterly dividend payments by a combined $2 billion after Fed stress tests showed that they could withstand a financial crisis.

Tesla dipped by about 2% in Tuesday trades as UBS cut its price target on increased competition from China-based EV companies BYD, Nio, and XPeng, among others.

The SEC slapped a JPMorgan subsidiary with a $2.8 million fine for operating as an unregistered broker-dealer.

Oil prices were higher. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.7%, to $73.41 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, jumped 0.6%, to $75.10 per barrel.

Gold fell 1%, to $1,761.80 per ounce.