Close Update: Stocks Close Higher as Risk Aversion Dissolves; Nasdaq Rallies on Biotechs

Close Update: Stocks Close Higher as Risk Aversion Dissolves; Nasdaq Rallies on Biotechs

Stocks closed higher again on Wednesday as investors rotated out of safe-havens and into equity assets as tensions with North Korea waned and hopes for substantial tax reform was rekindled. The Nasdaq raced to a two-week high on outsized gains in the biotech sector, while the S&P 500 was underpinned by gains in consumer and building supply stocks.

The benchmark averages were mixed throughout the day as the Dow struggled to stay above water after economic data provided the Federal Reserve with the ammunition to raise interest rates again this year.

The private sector created 237,000 new jobs in August, beating Wall Street estimates of 185,000 jobs and followed an upward revision to July. Additionally, the economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.0% in the second quarter, an upward revision from 2.6% and better than 2.8% estimates.

While the Dow struggled to stay positive, the Nasdaq raced higher on gains in biotechs after the FDA approved a landmark new gene therapy developed by Novartis ( NVS ) and the University of Pennsylvania to treat childhood leukemia. As a result, the Nasdaq Biotech index set a one-month high.

Here’s where the markets stood at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 27.06 points (+0.12%)

S&P 500 was up 11.29 points (+0.46%)

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 66.42 points (+1.05%)

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was up/down xxx%

Nikkei 225 was up 0.74%

Hang Seng Index was up 1.19%

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.05%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) AVAV (+18.22%) Reported better-than-expected Q2 EPS and sales

(+) MZOR (+12.96%) Announced strategic partnership with Medtronix ( MDT )

(+) CAL (+7.66%) Reported strong Q2 results

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) OTIC (-82.81%) Results of AVERTS-1 phase 3 study of Otividex missed primary endpoints and key secondary vertigo endpoints and company will suspend all further development

(-) BNED (-17.74%) Reported a wider-than-expected loss

(-) DY (-7.34%) Missed Q4 sales expectations, issued weak forecast for Q1

(-) CHS (-3.96%) Missed Q2 earnings estimates

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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