S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit fresh record highs, Salesforce pops 25%

Stocks opened little changed on Wednesday as the S&P 500 tried to build on its recent run to record levels. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 9 points, or less than 0.1%. The S&P 500 climbed 0.22% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5%.

Software company Salesforce reported blowout earnings after the bell on Tuesday. The soon-to-be Dow member rose more than 17% after beating on the top and bottom lines of its second-quarter results. 

Salesforce will replace Exxon Mobil, Amgen will replace Pfizer and Honeywell International will replace Raytheon Technologies in the Dow average, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Monday. The changes are driven by Apple’s coming stock split, which will reduce the technology weighting in the price-weighted average.

HP Enterprise, homebuilder Toll Brothers and retailer Urban Outfitters jumped following their better-than-expected earnings. 

U.S. durable goods orders jumped by 11.2% in July, easily topping a 4.3% estimate from Refinitiv. To be sure, Kansas City Federal Reserve President Esther George told CNBC the risk of a double-dip recession is increasing. 

Later this week, the Federal Reserve will hold its annual symposium on monetary policy. Wall Street will look for clues on further stimulus and where the economy is headed out of the event. Investors will be looking specifically for Powell’s comments on inflation and its impact on the dollar. 

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 notched its 17th record close of 2020 and the Nasdaq also reached an all-time high. Those milestones came as China and the U.S. resumed trade talks and the number of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. continue to trend lower. 

Markets have been bolstered “by converts finally joining the party, by recent persistent declines in Covid cases, the halo of ongoing new treatments, and renewed progress on trade negotiations with China,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, told CNBC. 

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