FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, pedestrians pass the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks are ticking higher Wednesday, Nov. 11, and this time big technology stocks are rising too on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, pedestrians pass the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Stocks are ticking higher Wednesday, Nov. 11, and this time big technology stocks are rising too on Wall Street. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

Wall Street pushes toward record highs for S&P 500, Dow

NEW YORK — Another rally for the S&P 500 on Wednesday is sending it to the edge of its record high, and this time big technology stocks are also rising on Wall Street.

The benchmark index was 0.9% higher in afternoon trading at 3,576, nearing its all-time high of 3,580.94 set in September.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also flirting with its own record, which was set before the pandemic sent the economy and markets crashing. It was up 88 points, or 0.3% , at 29,508, as of 1 pm. Eastern time, approaching its record of 29,551.42. The Nasdaq composite, meanwhile, was leading the market with a gain of 1.8%.

Enthusiasm about the economy’s possible return to normal has vaulted stocks higher this week following encouraging, but incomplete data on a potential vaccine for COVID-19. That pushed investors to shift dollars out of the old winners of the stay-at-home, virus-wracked economy and into beaten-down stocks that have a brighter future if people feel comfortable again going outside their homes.

Big Tech stocks had borne the brunt of this week’s dramatic reordering, but they clawed back some of those earlier losses. Microsoft rose 2.8%, cutting its loss for the week to 3%, for example. Amazon gained 2.8% to pare its weekly loss to 5.8%.

Elsewhere in the market, some of the massive rotation that swept through early this week also eased off the accelerator. The S&P 500 was nearly evenly split between stocks rising and falling, while energy and bank stocks gave back a bit of their huge gains from Monday and Tuesday. Stocks of smaller companies, which tend to move more with expectations for the economy, were also lagging the market, and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks was down 0.3%.

Some prospective new winners of a post-vaccine economy were continuing to climb.

Lyft rose 2% after its results for the latest quarter showed signs of a recovery in its ride-hailing business. Revenue plunged by nearly half in the summer from a year earlier, but it was nowhere near as bad as during the spring, when lockdowns were at full force.

While several significant risks remain for Wall Street broadly, the optimistic case that investors are embracing is that one or more coronavirus vaccines could help corral the virus by the second half of next year, encouraging people to return to life as it was before the pandemic.

All that economic activity would come on top of the tremendous aid that the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world are pumping into the economy through very low interest rates and massive purchases of bonds. Hope also remains that the U.S. government may eventually deliver some form of support for the economy, though its total size would likely be smaller than if Democrats had swept this month’s elections.

Strategists along Wall Street are raising their forecasts for stock prices on expectations that political control of Washington will remain split between the parties. Republicans look set to keep the Senate, as long as runoff elections go their way in Georgia in January, while Democrats will hold the House of Representatives.

Democrat Joe Biden has clinched enough electoral votes to win the White House, clearing some of the uncertainty that weighed on the market through the vicious campaign. Even though President Donald Trump has refused to concede, investors are ignoring his complaints so far. They’re instead working on the assumption that a split Washington under Biden could keep tax rates low while offering more steady and predictable policies.

Those expected results helped push strategists at Goldman Sachs to raise their forecast for the S&P 500 at the end of this year to 3,700 from 3,600. That would imply another 4.4% climb from Tuesday’s closing level. They expect it to rally another 16% through 2021. But the biggest driver for that is the hope for a return to normal life, rather than what happens in Washington.

“A vaccine is a more important development for the economy and markets than the prospective policies of a Biden presidency,” the Goldman Sachs strategists, led by David Kostin, said in a report.

Of course, several pessimistic cases also still hang over the market. One or more could ultimately derail what’s been a 9% rally for the S&P 500 already in November.

Chief among them is the continuing climb in coronavirus counts. Medical experts warn a difficult winter is approaching, and several European governments have already brought back restrictions on businesses to slow the spread of the virus there.

In the United States, Texas has become the first state with more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases. Even if the strictest lockdown measures don’t return to the United States, the worry is that scared customers will stay away from businesses regardless and undercut profits.

And even though early indicators have been encouraging about a potential coronavirus vaccine, there’s no guarantee one will ultimately be available or when.

Trading in the U.S. bond market is closed for Veterans Day, after Treasury yields climbed this week on hopes for a healthier economy and expectations that could lead to a pickup in inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is close to its highest level since March.

In European stock markets, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5%, and Germany’s DAX returned 0.4%. The FTSE 100 in London gained 1.4%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.8%, and South Korea’s Kospi strengthened by 1.3%. But stocks slipped in Shanghai and Hong Kong after Chinese regulations focused on technology companies pulled shares in big technology companies like Alibaba and Tencent sharply lower.

___

AP Business Writers Joe McDonald and Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.

Stan Choe, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Red Deer Gun Show organizer, Harold Drok, is concerned $1 fee from each ticket sale will go to Westerner Park once shows can be restarted there. This new policy replaces parking fees which will be waived for future Westerner Park events. (Black Press file photo)
Event organizer concerned about Westerner Park’s new parking fee model

A show organizer is concerned this could impact proceeds

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
Organizers of central Alberta anti-lockdown rodeo plead not guilty

Ty and Gail Northcott charged under the Public Health Act

(Black Press file photo.)
Road closures at both ends of Red Deer next week

Red Deer motorists should expect delays with road closures in the north… Continue reading

(File photo by Advocate staff)
37-year-old from Red Deer dies in highway crash

An individual from Red Deer has died after a collision on Highway… Continue reading

Grade one teacher Heidi Dimou arranges the desks in line with physical distancing policy in her class in preparation for the new school year at the Willingdon Elementary School in Montreal, on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta students expected to return to in-person learning next week

Kids can anticipate a return to the classroom next week in Alberta.… Continue reading

Red Deer musician Curtis Phagoo is glad the Alberta government is investing $2 million to help the province’s live music industry, but he would have liked the criteria to be expanded, so the money could be used as relief to cover revenue shortfalls. (Contributed photo by Cory Michaud)
Red Deer musicians welcome $2M in grants to help live music, but would have preferred relief program

The money is for future projects and can’t be used for retroactive expenses

(CPAC)
Trudeau says he knew about investigation into general overseeing vaccines weeks ago

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he learned weeks ago that… Continue reading

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States for a COVID-19 vaccine and avoid quarantine on return if they meet some straightforward conditions, the Public Health Agency of Canada confirms.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Canadians can drive to U.S. for COVID-19 vax and avoid quarantine, Ottawa confirms

TORONTO — Canadian residents are allowed to head to the United States… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Quebec can modify part of the Canadian Constitution unilaterally: Trudeau

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Quebec can unilaterally modify part… Continue reading

In this Thursday, April 29, 2021, file photo, giant bucket-wheel excavators extract coal at the controversial Garzweiler surface coal mine near Jackerath, West Germany. Canadian environmentalists are welcoming a report from the International Energy Agency that says new fossil fuel investment must end if the world is to meet its climate goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Martin Meissner
Canadian environmentalists happy with International Energy Agency report

Environmentalists say a report from the International Energy Agency that concludes investment… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Ceasefire needed in Israeli-Palestinian conflict to avoid loss of more civilians: PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is calling for a… Continue reading

A forest fire burns late into the evening northeast of Prince Albert, Sask., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
Saskatchewan wildfire grows, forcing evacuations in the area to expand

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — Dry conditions and strong winds caused a large… Continue reading

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto's Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Tam hopeful for summer even as Canada hits grim death milestone in COVID-19 pandemic

OTTAWA — Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says she expects… Continue reading

Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Sheffield United at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Sunday, May 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Alex Pantling/Pool via AP
Canadian teenager Daniel Jebbison turns heads with Premier League goal

Jebbison, 17, is the youngest player in Premier League history to score on his first start in England’s top tier

Most Read