Market Commentary: US markets higher on stimulus hopes

·           Investors are closely monitoring news for a new virus relief package, as negotiators seek to shrink the gap that remains between Republicans and Democrats. A rally in tech-related stocks and trillions of dollars in monetary and fiscal stimulus have lifted the S&P 500 to within about 3% of February’s record high.

·           The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.62% to end at 26,828.47 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.36% to 3,306.51. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.35% to 10,941.17. Oil dipped after climbing to its highest in nearly two weeks as an explosion in Beirut stoked fears over instability in the region.

·           Senior US and Chinese officials are planning to assess the nations’ trade agreement around the middle of the month against a backdrop of rising tensions between the countries.

·           On the virus front, California reported the fewest new coronavirus cases since June, while Florida and Arizona also saw their infections slow, signalling an easing in some of the US states hardest-hit by the pandemic in recent weeks. In Europe, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands recorded increases in new cases.

·           A slew of economic news out of the US could move stocks. Private payrolls data from ADP will be watched if companies continued to bring back workers from their pandemic furlough in July. Economists polled by Dow Jones are expecting 1 million private workers were added in July, down from the 2.369 million added in June.

·           The final read on July Services PMI and the ISM nonmanufacturing survey is also anticipated.

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