U.S. stocks finished mostly higher on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 (SPY) and Nasdaq (QQQ) hitting fresh records on the back of rising communication shares.
Wall Street’s major indices diverged at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 59.71 points, or 0.2%, to 28,248.55.
The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks gained 0.4% to close at 3,443.65, a new all-time high. Gains were mainly concentrated in six of 11 primary sectors, with communication services leading the pack. Health care companies also outperformed the broader market.
On the opposite side of the ledger, shares of energy and utility companies declined sharply.
Rising communication shares led the Nasdaq Composite Index to higher ground. The tech-heavy average closed up 0.8% at 11,466.47.
A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) continued to trade in a narrow range just above the historic average. The so-called “investor fear index” hovered between 21.53 and 23.43. It would eventually settle down 1.1% at 22.13.
In economic data, new home sales rose much faster than expected in July, offering more evidence of a rebounding real estate market. New home sales climbed 13.9% in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 901,000, the Department of Commerce reported Tuesday.
Separately, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices rose 3.5% annually in June.
The Final Word: The United States appears to be turning a corner in its fight against Covid-19. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported fewer than 35,000 new cases on Monday. That’s well below the more than 78,000 daily infections seen during the height of the pandemic in July.