Financials lift S&P 500, Dow; Powell, Yellen on deck

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow rose on Wednesday as economy-linked financial and energy stocks gained amid another day of testimonies from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

FILE PHOTO: The Wall Street sign is pictured at the New York Stock exchange (NYSE) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Intel Corp gained 1.5% as the company, in its efforts to expand chip making capacity, announced plans to spend as much as $20 billion to build two factories in Arizona and open its factories to outside customers.

U.S.-listed shares of rival Taiwan Semiconductor dropped 4%, while semiconductor equipment makers Lam Research Corp, Applied Materials Inc and ASML Holding gained between 2.7% and 6.5%.

“Wall Street is looking for a new catalyst right now and is wondering if we are simply going through a see-saw pattern, which you might call a correction in time rather than a correction in price,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

“The most recent stimulus package has already been passed and people are wondering just how much of a new $3 trillion infrastructure package will be approved.”

Wall Street’s main indexes have flipped between gains and losses this week as easing bond yields prompted a return to beaten-down technology stocks from economy-linked energy and financial stocks.

Powell and Yellen resumed their Congressional hearings on Wednesday, a day after concerns about the cost of infrastructure spending and potential tax hikes weighed on stocks.

At 10:12 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 303.91 points, or 0.94%, at 32,727.06, and the S&P 500 was up 18.78 points, or 0.48%, at 3,929.30. The Nasdaq Composite was down 27.73 points, or 0.21%, at 13,199.97.

Facebook Inc, Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Inc slipped about 0.6% as premarket gains fizzled out.

Bitcoin gained 5% as Tesla Inc’s chief, Elon Musk, said the company’s electric vehicles can now be bought using bitcoin and the option will be available outside the United States later this year.

GameStop Corp tumbled 13% after the video game retailer said it may sell new shares as the company that led the Reddit rally of “meme stocks” looks to take advantage of a more than 800% surge in its stock price since January.

Energy stocks .SPNY jumped about 3% as crude prices rebounded from a 6% fall in the last session.

Latest data showed U.S. factory activity picked up in early March, but supply chain disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to exert cost pressures for manufacturers.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 2.24-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.08-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded six new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 46 new lows.

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