S&P closes at new record high amid stimulus stalemate

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The S&P 500 index closed at a new record high Tuesday, recovering all of its coronavirus-driven losses despite the long road to a full economic recovery ahead for the U.S. at large.

The S&P closed Tuesday at 3389.78, a little more than 3 points higher than the record close set in February before the onset of the pandemic plunged financial markets into chaos. Both the S&P and Nasdaq composite have set new records after the coronavirus-driven crash that began in late February and stretched into mid-March.

The Nasdaq also closed with a gain of 0.7 percent while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a roughly 67 point loss, or 0.2 percent below its Tuesday open.

The S&P, which represents a wide swath of U.S. businesses, had flirted with a record close for nearly two weeks. The stock market has rallied fairly consistently since April, prompting concern and confusion among experts given the deep damage still afflicting the broader economy.

While the stock market has largely recovered from the pandemic, the U.S. unemployment rate is still 10.2 percent — higher than its worst point during the Great Recession and almost 7 percentage points worse than its pre-pandemic level.

Economists also fear that the lack of a deal to extend support for unemployment benefits, eviction protections and emergency small business aid that expired in July could plunge the U.S. deeper into a recession.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday expressed doubts that Republicans and Democrats would be able to break the stalemate despite general bipartisan support for another stimulus bill.

Tags coronavirus pandemic Mitch McConnell Stock market

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