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Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks open slightly higher, with S&P 500 on track for record

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U.S. stocks traded slightly higher early Tuesday, with the S&P 500 index on track for a record as bulls continue to find fuel in the formal full approval a day earlier of a COVID-19 vaccine and as investors await a speech at the end of the week from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

What major stock indexes are doing
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average
    DJIA,
    +0.14%

    rose 59.41 points, or 0.2%, to 35,395.12.
  • The S&P 500
    SPX,
    +0.25%

    edged up 8.13 points, or 0.2%, to trade at 4,487.66, above its record close of 4,479.71 set on Aug. 16.
  • The Nasdaq Composite
    COMP,
    +0.47%

    built on its record finish from Monday, advancing 41.71 points, or 0.3%, to 14,984.36.

On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 215 points, the S&P 500 rose 0.9% to its second-highest level ever, and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.6%.

What’s driving the market?

Markets looked to extend their advance on Tuesday helped by news Monday that U.S. regulators granted full approval for Pfizer-BioNTech’s
PFE,
-2.54%

BNTX,
-4.53%

Covid vaccine which may mean more employer mandates to help halt the spread of the delta variant, given signs the coronavirus delta variant may be slowing economic growth as seen in the U.S. Markit August flash composite purchasing managers index which showed a drop to an eight-month low. The U.S. Defense Department and New York City schools immediately introduced vaccine mandates for all employees,

“For now, dips continue to be shallow and rapidly bought into, with the 50-day moving average remaining well-defended by equity bulls, and the market printing new all-time highs with regularity,” said Michael Brown, senior market analyst at Caxton FX.

Investors are also awaiting the Jackson Hole Federal Reserve gathering where Chair Jerome Powell will speak on Friday, and were encouraged by reports that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen supports the reappointment of Powell to lead the central bank for another four years.

The second-quarter earnings season is nearly over with more than 90% of S&P 500 index companies reporting. S&P 500 companies may have grown earnings by 94.7% year over year, according to Refinitiv.

The U.S. corporate and economics calendar for Tuesday is on the thin side, with new-home sales data due for release at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Shares of Palo Alto Networks Inc.
    PANW,
    +17.09%

    jumped nearly 17%, after the cybersecurity company’s quarterly results and outlook surpassed Wall Street expectations.
  • Best Buy Co. Inc. BBY shares rose 5.6%, after the consumer electronics retailer reported second-quarter earnings that beat expectations and raised its same-store sales guidance for the year.
  • Shares of Mister Car Wash Inc. MCW dropped 6.6%, after the carwash company announced a secondary offering of 12 million shares by selling stockholders.
  • Shares of Medtronic PLC MDT tacked on 1.3%, after the medical device maker reported fiscal first-quarter profit and sales that beat expectations, and nudged up its full-year earnings outlook, citing a strong recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on elective procedures. 
  • Shares of Cigna Corp. CI rose 1.4%, after the insurer announced a $2.0 billion accelerated stock repurchase agreement with Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase Bank.
  • Advance Auto Parts IncAAP reported Tuesday reported fiscal second-quarter profit that topped expectations, but net sales that matched and same-store sales that came up shy, although the full-year outlook was raised. Shares were flat.
What are other markets doing?

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