Wall Street Hits More Records as Tesla Zooms

Wall Street Hits More Records as Tesla Zooms

A big gain for Tesla helped drive Wall Street to more records

NEW YORK — Tesla zoomed higher and helped drive the U.S. stock market to more records on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 added 0.6% to top its all-time high set two weeks ago. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 162 points, or 0.4%, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.8% to its own record set a day before.

Tesla led the way with a 10.2% jump after the electric-vehicle maker reported a milder drop in sales for the spring than analysts expected. Modest gains for other big, influential stocks also helped lift the market, including a 1.6% climb for Apple.

Stocks got a lift from easing Treasury yields after the head of the Federal Reserve made comments that investors took as a signal for possible cuts to interest rates later this year. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, whose utterances are always finely parsed for hints about rates, gave a nod to improvements in inflation data after some disappointingly high readings early in the year.

“We just want to understand that the levels that we’re seeing are a true reading of underlying inflation,” he said.

The hope on Wall Street is that inflation will slow enough to convince the Fed to lower its main interest rate, which has been sitting at its highest level in more than two decades and pressing the brakes on the economy. Treasury yields have largely been easing since April on hopes for such cuts.

A report on Tuesday may have hindered those hopes, though. It showed U.S. employers were advertising more job openings at the end of May than economists expected and slightly more than April’s tally. While plentiful job openings are great news for workers, the fear on Wall Street is that too strong of a job market will put upward pressure on inflation and force delays to rate cuts.

After swinging lower following Powell’s comments, Treasury yields pared their losses following the report on job openings. The yield on the 10-year Treasury was sitting at 4.42%, compared with 4.46% late Monday.

The week’s most anticipated economic data will arrive on Friday, when the U.S. government reports how many jobs employers added in total during June. Before then, the U.S. stock market will have a shortened trading day on Wednesday and a holiday on Thursday for the Fourth of July.

Treasury yields have been feeling some upward pressure recently because of politics. Last week’s debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump pushed traders to make moves in anticipation of a possible Republican sweep in November. That included sending Treasury yields higher, in part because of the possibility for policies that would further raise the U.S. government’s debt.

The 10-year yield is still well above its 4.29% level from late Thursday, before the debate.

In commodities markets, the price of benchmark U.S. oil ended up slipping modestly after touching its highest price since April earlier in the morning.

Crude prices have largely been rising on expectations for strong demand during the summer, as well as the possibility of hurricanes damaging oil production in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Beryl is roaring through the Caribbean.

Tuesday’s drop for crude sent stocks of oil-and-gas producers lower, and Exxon Mobil dipped 0.7%.

Also keeping Wall Street’s gains in check was Nvidia, which has been one of this year’s brightest stars. It fell 1.3%, though it’s still up nearly 147.7% for the year so far.

Eli Lilly fell 0.8%, and U.S.-listed shares of Novo Nordisk dropped 1.7% after President Biden criticized in an opinion piece for USA Today how much the companies are charging for their drugs for weight loss and diabetes.

All told, the S&P 500 rose 33.92 points to 5,509.01. The Dow gained 162.33 to 39,331.85, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 149.46 to 18,028.76.

In stock markets abroad, European indexes fell after a report showed inflation in the region remains stuck above a level that the European Central Bank is hoping for. Germany’s DAX lost 0.7%, and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.3%.

A day earlier, French stocks had rallied after election results suggested a far-right political party may not win a decisive majority in the country’s legislative elections. That raised the possibility of gridlock in the French government, which would prevent a worst-case scenario where a far-right with a clear majority could push policies that would greatly increase the French government’s debt.

This is a big year for elections worldwide, with voters in the United Kingdom heading to the polls later this week

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.1% after the value of the Japanese yen again neared a 38-year low. When the yen is weak, it can boost the fortunes of Japanese exporters.

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