S&P 500 nears record high as investors rally on vaccine hopes

S&P 500 nears record high as investors rally on vaccine hopes
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The S&P 500 opened near a new record high on Tuesday with gains driven by investor confidence in coronavirus vaccine development.

The index opened with a 0.5 percent gain, rising to roughly 3,377 points. The index’s record for highest value at the end of trading day stands at 3,386.15 points.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened with a gain of more than 320 points, up 1.2 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite sank roughly 0.6 percent.

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Tuesday’s stock movements were driven largely by rising optimism on Wall Street that a coronavirus vaccine may be ready for distribution within months. Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden Traces of nerve agent found in water bottle in Navalny's hotel room, colleagues say Russia: US trying to foment revolution in Belarus MORE announced Tuesday that the federation has approved a coronavirus vaccine before going through a full trial process, prompting skepticism and alarm from scientists in Russia and across the world.

Even so, shares of airlines, cruise lines and other companies hindered by the pandemic rose broadly Tuesday as investors sold off high-value tech stocks that had led much of market's previous gains amid lockdowns. 

The market’s solid open also comes as the White House and congressional leaders attempt to revive failed negotiations over another round of federal stimulus. President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE over the weekend signed several executive orders meant to extend fiscal support through enhanced unemployment benefits, payroll tax deferral and student loan relief, but experts say his actions may not be legal or effective.

Republicans and Democrats are facing major differences over further aid for state and local governments facing severe financial shortfalls despite bipartisan pleas for help from state governors. The parties are also fiercely divided over how to extend enhanced unemployment benefits.