Markets

S&P 500 ekes out a small gain in light trading, boosted by reopening plays

Share
VIDEO3:2603:26
Stocks rebound at open from late Tuesday fade

U.S. stocks rose slightly on Wednesday as shares tied to the economic reopening supported the broader market once again.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.2% to 4,195.99, sitting just about 1% from a record high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 10.59 points to 34,323.05.The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite added 0.6% to 13,738.00.

Trading was light ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), which tracks the broader market index, traded just over 33.5 million shares, well below the ETF's 30-day volume average of nearly 77 million shares.

Shares of companies linked to a recovering economy gained. Carnival Corp. rose 2.8%. Royal Caribbean jumped 3.9% and brought its gain this week to over 11% after the cruise line operator received approval to begin test cruises with volunteer passengers.

The optimism on the economy comes as U.S. average daily Covid cases fall below 25,000 and as nearly half the U.S. population has received at least one vaccination dose.

Shares of Ford rose more than 8% after the automobile giant said it is increasing its investment in electric vehicles to $30 billion through 2025.

"We continue to look for a strong recovery in economic growth in 2021, with low interest rates and moderate increases in inflation," said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo. "This backdrop should favor most equity markets globally, and especially those markets and sectors most closely correlated with economic growth."

Bitcoin continued its comeback, helping risk sentiment in the financial markets. Bitcoin ended Wednesday at about $38,500, according to Coin Metrics. On May 19, the cryptocurrency hit a low of $30,001.51 following an intraday crash of 30%. Shares of Tesla, a big holder of bitcoin, added 2.4%.

Nordstrom shares dropped 5.8% after the company missed the Street's first-quarter earnings expectations, while shares of Urban Outfitters jumped 10% following better-than-expected quarterly results.

Wednesday also marked the 125th birthday for the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average, which debuted more than a century ago with 12 members. Its best year occurred in 1915 when the benchmark rallied 81.7%, while 1931 marked its worst year with a 52.7% loss.

Investors kept an eye on Washington and any developments on an infrastructure compromise that could boost the economy further. Senate Republicans plan to send President Joe Biden a counteroffer this week that costs nearly $1 trillion.

Meanwhile, chief executives of the country's largest banks — including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — testified before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.