Stocks Stretch Gains, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Set Records

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Stock futures were little changed on Tuesday night after another record-breaking session, with investors bracing for a key Federal Reserve event later this week.

S&P 500 contracts were flat to slightly up. The index hit intraday and record-close highs during the regular trading day as investors piled up in stocks in the energy and consumer discretionary sectors that had fallen behind over the past month . The Nasdaq also gained 1% more, rising for a fourth consecutive session and hitting intraday and all-time highs.

Stocks rose amid optimism about continued strength in corporate earnings and economic activity, although growth rates on both fronts appear poised to slow after a first wave of reopening. Retailer Best Buy (BBY) released second-quarter results that beat consensus estimates on Tuesday morning, and the company also upped its full-year sales forecast, reaffirming that the increase in consumer spending in electronics continued in the second half of the year.

More movement on legislation that would increase government spending on physical and human infrastructure has added to investor sentiment. Late Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to move forward with a $ 3.5 trillion budget plan, laying the groundwork for a major economic program that would address issues such as health care, child care children and climate change. As part of the legislative action, the House also held a final vote on the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in the Senate earlier this month.

Tuesday’s session also saw a resurgence of “memes actions,” or actions that have been popularized throughout the year on social media platforms, including Reddit. GameStop (GME) stocks gained 28% on their best day since March, while AMC Entertainment (AMC) and BlackBerry (BB) were up 20% and 9% respectively.

U.S. stocks hit new all-time highs ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole Virtual Symposium, which kicks off Thursday. After the minutes of last week’s July Federal Open Market Committee meeting turned out to be more belligerent than many market participants expected, more clues on the way forward for monetary policy remains a focal point. Namely, traders are looking to see if central bank officials are signaling when they will announce and implement the reduction in their crisis asset purchase program.

“What the market really wants to hear is… that the Fed is prepared to adapt if in fact the Delta variant has a negative impact on the economy going forward,” Kristina Hooper, chief market strategist global Invesco, told Yahoo Finance. “And so that will be the key message – this willingness to be flexible with what happens to the US economy, that it is not full speed ahead to adhere to a taper schedule.”

Other strategists have also suggested that a “wait and see” approach from the Fed would be the most welcome outcome for equity investors.

“While we saw the progress in the labor market that I think the Fed wanted to see… obviously we are experiencing this temporary setback in terms of growth momentum,” Aneta Markowska, chief financial economist at Jefferies, told Yahoo Finance. “It is difficult for the Fed to signal anything and commit to a reduction schedule at this point, but I think it needs to recognize that we have made further progress on these targets.”

6:07 p.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures hover near record highs

Here’s where the markets were trading Tuesday night:

  • S&P 500 Futures Contracts (ES = F): +1.25 point (+ 0.03%) to 4,483.75

  • Dow Futures (YM = F): +16.00 points (+ 0.05%) to 35,330.00

  • Nasdaq Futures (NQ = F): +4.5 points (+ 0.03%) to 15,360.00

NEW YORK, NY – AOT 16: The Wall St. and Broad St. signs are seen by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building in the financial district of New York City, United States on August 16, 2021. ( Photo by Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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