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Dow closes higher for a third day, up 160 points, as coronavirus relief talks continue

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Stocks rose across the board on Tuesday, building on the previous session's strong gains, as lawmakers tried to make inroads on a new coronavirus stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 164.07 points, or 0.6%, to finish the day at 26,828.47 while the S&P 500 advanced a more modest 0.36% and ended at 3,306.51.

The Nasdaq Composite staged a late-day turnaround to add a similar 0.35%, notching its fifth straight day of gains and a record close. The Composite, up more than 21% in 2020, closed at 10,941.17.

Tuesday's moves came as lawmakers worked to make inroads on a new coronavirus stimulus package. 

Source: CNBC

The upswing on Tuesday came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows held "productive" discussions on Monday, despite a handful of issues still outstanding. 

Both sides have indicated they agree on another $1,200 stimulus check, but remain deadlocked on additional unemployment assistance.

"In our opinion, Congress will muster the fortitude to deliver near-term stimulus support," said Darrell Cronk, president of Wells Fargo Investment Management, in a note. "However, a greater challenge comes in 2021 when this year's extraordinary fiscal stimulus programs fade."

Big Tech, which has led the major market indexes for much of the past week, traded mixed on Tuesday. Apple, one of the best performers in the Dow on Tuesday, finished the session up 0.6%. Netflix, meanwhile, gained 2.2%. Losses from the so-called FAANG group came from Facebook, which fell 0.85%, and Alphabet, which slipped 0.6%.

Energy, real estate and staples were the best-performing sectors in the S&P 500, rising more than 1.3% each. Those gains were partially offset by declines health care and financials, the only two S&P sectors that posted declines during the session.

Wall Street was coming off a strong session, with the Dow rallying more than 200 points on Monday. The S&P 500 is less than 3% away from its all-time high.

Those gains came after Microsoft and Apple powered the S&P 500 tech sector to an all-time high.

"Tech stocks have captured considerable attention for their gaudy, relative total return performance, but what is less appreciated is how 'consistent' they have been," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, in a note to clients. Paulsen pointed out the S&P 500 has outpaced the broader market 57% of the time in 2020.

"What valuation is warranted by a sector whose business grows faster for reasons that are less dependent on overall economic conditions, and whose members generate remarkable excess returns with superior frequency, compared to any other sector in the stock market?"

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