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Stock Market News for Aug 16, 2021

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U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday, with the Dow and S&P 500 notching up new record highs despite data showing a drop in consumer sentiment due to fears of rising COVID-19 cases. This was also their longest stretch of record closing highs since Mar 15. All the three major indexes ended in positive territory.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose less than 0.1% or 15.53 points to end at 35,515.38 and to close at a new record high. The blue-chip index hit an intraday record high of 35,610.57 points.

The S&P 500 advanced 0.2% or 7.17 points to close at 4,468.00 points, after hitting an intraday record high at 4,468.37 points. Consumer staples and utilities sectors were the best performers.

The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) gained 0.8%, while the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) advanced 0.7%. Seven of the 11 sectors of the benchmark index closed in positive territory.

Shares of Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN - Free Report) gained 2.3%, while NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG - Free Report) advanced 1.4%. Tyson Foods has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 0.90% to 15.45. A total of 7.99 billion shares were traded on Friday, lower than the last 20-session average of 9.42 billion.

Bullish Sentiment Continues

Thursday marked the first day since Mar 15, when both the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at record highs for three straight days. The bullish sentiment continued on Friday, despite the University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index declining unexpectedly in August.

Fears of the Delta variant of coronavirus are gradually raising fears once again, which has been denting consumer confidence. However, with millions of Americans now vaccinated, the confidence hasn’t hit rock bottom this time around.

In fact, Friday’s bullish sentiment was largely because of the other economic data released earlier this week that were more than impressive. Data released earlier this week showed slower-than-expected increase consumer-price inflation and a massive decline in jobless claims. This saw people shifting to value stocks lately that have been helping the markets.

Also, on late Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave approval for an additional dose of Covid-19n vaccine for those with a weak immune system. This also added to the investor confidence.

Economic Data

The University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index declined sharply in August to 70.2 compared to 81.2 in July, which is slightly worrying given the growing cases of coronavirus in the United States. This is the lowest level since April 2020 or since the onset of the pandemic

In other economic report, U.S. import prices jumped 0.3% in July after rising 1.1% in June.

Weekly Roundup

For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 booked gains, while the Nasdaq ended in the red. The Dow gained 0.9%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.7%. The Nasdaq slipped 0.1% for the week.

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