Stock market live Wednesday: S&P and Nasdaq new records, Netflix jumps 11%, Salesforce best day ever

This is CNBC's markets live blog that was updated throughout the day. 

A strong rally in tech drove the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite to new all-time highs, making the fourth straight session these two gauges refreshed their records. Salesforce surged as much as 29% after the software company's big earnings beat. A surprise jump in durable goods also boosted investor sentiment. Here's what happened:

Wednesday's rally by the numbers

  • S&P 500 closed up 1.02% for its fifth straight positive day at a new record close, its 18th this year 
  • S&P 500 also hit a new intraday all-time high of 3,481.07 for its best day since Aug. 12
  • S&P 500 is up 7.67% year to date
  • S&P 500 is 58.71% above its 52-week low of 2,191.86 from March 23
  • Nasdaq Composite closed up 1.73% for its fifth straight positive day, at a new record, its 39th this year
  • Nasdaq also hit a new intraday all-time high of 11,672.05 and had its best day since Aug. 12
  • Nasdaq is up 30.01% year to date  
  • Dow closed up 0.30% for its first positive day in two
  • Dow is down 0.72% year to date 
  • Semi ETFs (SMH, SOXX) both hit new intraday all-time highs
  • Cloud Computing ETFs (CLOU, WCLD, SKYY) all hit new intraday all-time highs
  • DJ Internet ETF (FDN) also hit a new intraday all-time high
  • Six out of 11 sectors were positive Wednesday led by communication services, which gained 3.71%. — Gina Francolla, Yun Li

Stocks move higher as Big Tech advances

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at new record highs on Wednesday after gaining 1% and 1.7%, respectively. Technology names fueled the gains, with Salesforce, Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft among the names hitting all-time highs. The Dow was the relative underperformer of the major averages, gaining just 0.3%. - Pippa Stevens 

There are 'bubbly aspects' to this rally, portfolio manager says

Many investors may be rejoicing at the fact that the S&P 500 has recovered from the coronavirus sell-off to trade back at an all-time high, but Elliott Savage of YCG Investments thinks there are some "bubbly aspects" to this move up. "When you look throughout history, when there's a structural increase in the number of investors that have access to the market, combined with a narrative that has a grain of truth, that's a recipe for a speculative bubble," he said, referring to the influx of newly minted traders from the popular brokerage Robinhood and the Federal Reserve taking steps to stimulate the economy. This is all "definitely leading to some bubbly aspects to parts of the market," Savage said. —Fred Imbert

Final hour of trading: Tech leads S&P 500 and Nasdaq to a record high

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were on pace for another record close as tech shares added to their already blistering gains for 2020. The S&P 500 was up 0.8% with roughly one hour left in the session. The Nasdaq Composite traded 1.2% higher. The Dow traded marginally higher, gaining 42 points, 0.2%. —Fred Imbert

Hurricane Laura upgraded to Category 4

Hurricane Laura has strengthened into a Category 4 storm as it approaches the coast of Louisiana and Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm could strengthen further and is expected to remain a Category 4 when its hits tonight, the center said. Shortly before 2 p.m., ET, the storm was about 200 miles from where it is expected to make landfall. — Jesse Pound

Census sees big jump in hiring for August

August's payroll numbers could get a nice boost from Census hires. Figures released this week showed a major boost in temporary hiring for the decennial count that in turn could boost the nonfarm payrolls report released Sept. 2. The Census bureau said there are now 288,204 temporary workers employed as of the period covering Aug. 9-15, which would include the Labor Department's survey reference week. That's an increase of 237,800 from the same period in July. Nonfarm payrolls are projected to increase by 1.275 million for August after jumping 1.763 million in July. The unemployment rate is expected to tick lower to 10% from 10.2%. However, the exact impact on those figures from the Census hiring will depend on how many of those workers had been previously unemployed. The total jobless level was 16.3 million in July, from the pre-pandemic 5.8 million in February. — Jeff Cox

Midday movers

Urban Outfitters – Shares of Urban Outfitters surged nearly 22% after the apparel retailer posted a big earnings surprise. The company reported a profit of 35 cents per share for its latest quarter, compared with expectations of a 40 cents per share loss from Refinitiv. 

Roku — Roku shares jumped nearly 10% after an analyst at Citi initiated coverage of the streaming media company with a buy rating and a price target of $180 per share. "We believe Roku will continue to benefit from active account growth and from growing value per active account," the analyst said.

Dick's Sporting Goods — Shares of the sporting goods retailer jumped nearly 15% on the back of strong online sales from the previous quarter. Dick's said e-commerce sales were up by 194% in the previous quarter when compared to the year-earlier period.

Check out more companies making big headlines here.Yun Li

Salesforce leads tech higher

Salesforce was one of the biggest winners on Wall Street during Wednesday midday trading, jumping more than 25% after its strong earnings report. Other major tech stocks also rose, powering the Nasdaq Composite higher. Facebook climbed 5%, while Amazon and Microsoft both added over 2%. — Jesse Pound

Markets at midday: S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit records again, Dow struggles

Broad gains from Big Tech drove the S&P 500 and Nasdaq into record territory once again as the market benchmarks rose 0.6% and 1.3%, respectively. The Dow, meanwhile, hovered just below the flatline around midday, lagging the other two indexes for a second day in a row.  —Fred Imbert

MSCI All Country World Index reclaims record highs

The MSCI All Country World Index hit a new record high on Wednesday, erasing its losses from the selloff spurred by the coronavirus pandemic. The index rose to 581.94 at one point. It had not traded above 580 since Feb. 20. It has now gained 2.5% year to date. — Jesse Pound

Moderna shares jump 5% after promising results in small trial of elderly patients

Shares of Moderna popped about 5% after the biotech firm said its potential coronavirus vaccine generated a promising immune response in elderly patients in an early-stage clinical trial. The company tested its vaccine on 10 adults between ages 56 and 70 and 10 elderly adults aged 71 and older, Moderna said. Each participant received two 100 microgram doses of the vaccine 28 days apart.

The volunteers produced neutralizing antibodies, which researchers believe are necessary to build immunity to the virus, and killer T-cells, Moderna said in its results. Additionally, the antibodies that were produced were higher than those seen in people who have recovered from Covid-19. — Berkeley Lovelace, Yun Li 

Cramer recommends two retailers ahead of hurricane

With Hurricane Laura poised to hit the Gulf Coast as a major storm, home improvement retailers may soon become popular stocks for day traders, CNBC's Jim Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street."

"Beware, I think they'll plow into it tomorrow morning around 4 a.m. Maybe you want to get ahead of them," Cramer said.

CNBC Pro subscribers can watch the full discussion here. — Jesse Pound

Stocks open slightly higher

The major indexes inched higher at the opening bell amid strong economic data and earnings beats from several companies. The Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 rose 0.5% and 0.2%, respectively, while the Dow was flat. — Jesse Pound

Here are Wednesday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Tesla, Roku, Apple, Nikola, Shopify & more

  • Telsey upgraded Urban Outfitters to outperform from market perform.
  • Piper Sandler initiated Chegg as overweight.
  • Morgan Stanley upgraded Keurig Dr Pepper to overweight from equal weight.
  • Wedbush initiated Nikola as neutral.
  • Jefferies raised its price target on Tesla to $2,500 from $1,200.
  • Citi initiated Roku as buy.
  • Morgan Stanley upgraded Nio to overweight from equal weight.
  • Atlantic Equities initiated Shopify as overweight.
  • Wedbush raised its price target on Apple to $600 to $515.

Pro Subscribers can read more here. — Michael Bloom

Toll Brothers tops estimates, sees 26% jump in orders

Shares of Toll Brothers gained more than 1% during premarket trading on Wednesday after the company's third quarter earnings beat top and bottom line estimates. The company earned 90 cents per share during the period, compared with estimates of 71 cents, according to data from Refinitiv. Revenue came in at $1.65 billion, ahead of the $1.52 billion consensus estimate, according to FactSet. The quarterly beat was fueled by a 26% jump in orders. Toll Brothers also gave an optimistic forecast for the current quarter. - Pippa Stevens 

Risks of a double-dip recession rising, Fed's Esther George says

Esther George, president of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, told CNBC that the recession sparked by the coronavirus could revisit the economy if the pandemic intensifies. "An important risk to that outlook is thinking about what happens as we come into the fall, whether we see any resurgence in the virus that would cause an additional pullback in the economy," George said. "We'll monitor that carefully to see whether that plays out." She noted, however, the central bank's base case is "we will continue to see the economy improve." —Fred Imbert, Jeff Cox

Durable goods crush expectations

The Census Bureau said Wednesday U.S. durable goods orders jumped 11.2% in July, well above a Dow Jones estimate of a 4.3% increase. It marks the third consecutive month of improvement for orders for long-lasting factory goods. Transportation equipment led the increase, jumping 35.6% to $74.7 billion in July.— Yun Li

MKM's Darda: Why the market's gains are 'fully justified'

The S&P 500 has surged more than 57% since hitting an intraday low on March 23 and is currently trading at an all-time high. Some experts, however, worry the index's gains have mostly come from just a handful of tech stocks, making current market valuations harder to justify.

But Michael Darda, chief economist and market strategist at MKM Partners, thinks the market gains "are fully justified by the evolution of the cycle (from rapid contraction to faster-than-anticipated recovery), liquidity (from vanishing during March to returning/improving since then) and discount rates (low and relatively steady despite three months of faster-than-expected growth)." —Fred Imbert, Michael Bloom

Hewlett Packard Enterprises surges after earnings beat

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprises jumped more than 6% after the company beat expectations on the top and bottom lines for its fiscal third quarter. The company reported adjusted earnings per share of 32 cents and $6.82 billion in revenue. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were looking for 23 cents in earnings per share and $6.06 billion in revenue. The company also said that it reduced its backlog by $500 million. — Jesse Pound

Salesforce soars 14% after big earnings beat

Shares of Salesforce jumped more than 14% in premarket trading Wednesday after the enterprise-software company reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results. Salesforce earned  $1.44 per share in its fiscal second quarter, versus the 67 cents per share expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv. Its revenue came in at $5.15 billion, surpassing analysts' expectations of $4.90 billion.  Salesforce will also replace Exxon Mobil in the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average on Aug. 31.  —Yun Li

Nordstrom shares drop 6% after disappointing earnings

Shares of Nordstrom fell about 6% during premarket trading on Wednesday following the company's disappointing second quarter earnings. The retailer lost $1.62 per share, which was wider than the $1.48 loss expected by analysts, according to estimates from Refinitiv. Revenue also came up short and the company said net sales fell 53% year-over-year amid store closures during the pandemic.

The company did not provide guidance for the second half of 2020, but President Pete Nordstrom said in a statement: "We're confident that we can improve sales trends in H2 of the year and beyond ... Our inventories are current and in-line, and we're focused on amplifying relevant categories, brands and trends to meet customers' changing preferences." —Pippa Stevens 

Correction: an earlier version misstated the stock's premarket move.

Stock futures are little changed after another record close for the S&P 500

U.S. stock futures hovered around the flatline on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 logged in another record closing high. Futures for the broader market index were up just 0.1% while Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dipped 36 points, or 0.1%. Nasdaq 100 futures outperformed, rising 0.4%. The major averages have been on a tear this month. The S&P 500 has gained more than 5% in August alone. The Dow and Nasdaq are up over 6% each in that time. —Fred Imbert