The US equity market finished session at new highs on Tuesday, 11 February 2020, as investors took heart from reports that the Federal Trade Commission is looking into acquisitions by some of the country's biggest tech companies and hopes that central banks could ease policy in the event growth slows down. At closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.48 point lower to 29,276.34 after setting an intraday record of 29,415.39 earlier in the session. The S&P 500 advanced 5.66 points, or 0.17%, to 3,357.75, and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 10.55 points, or 0.11%, to 9,638.94, with both indexes notching all-time closing highs.
Wall Street got some encouragement Tuesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. In remarks to Congress on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, while positive about the American economic outlook, said the central bank is keeping a close eye on fallout from the epidemic, which continues to disrupt travel and trade and global economic growth. Investors have attributed the bullish trading in stocks to hopes that the Fed would ease policy if a global economic shock from the coronavirus made its way to U. S. shores.
China remained mostly closed for business Tuesday.
China's National Health Commission on Tuesday said in its daily update that 108 deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,016 deaths in mainland China since the disease emerged in December. The number of new, confirmed cases fell to 2,478 from 3,062 a day earlier, bringing the total to 42,638 on the mainland, including some of whom have since recovered and been released from treatment.
Sprint soared after a federal judge cleared a major obstacle to the company being acquired by T-Mobile proposed $26.5 billion buyout. Microsoft and Facebook slumped after federal regulators announced they've ramped up an antitrust probe into the two companies as well as Amazon, Apple and Google parent Alphabet.
Cruise operators, hotels and other companies that focus on travel made solid gains, the latest sign that traders are feeling less worried about the economic impact from the virus outbreak that began in China.
On the data front, the National Federation of Independent Business said its index of small-business optimism rebounded from a dip at the end of 2019, rising to 104.3 points in January from a December reading of 102.7. Meanwhile, the number of job openings in the U. S. fell to a two-year low of 6.42 million in December from 6.79 million.
On the currency front, the dollar rose to 109.76 Japanese yen from 109.70 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.0922 from $1.0914.
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