Nasdaq ends at fresh records as European bourses retreat

John BIERS
Wall Street had one of its best runs ever in the second quarter

The Nasdaq ended at a fresh record Wednesday after a mostly positive day for Wall Street stocks despite a lackluster session in Europe.

Led by Amazon, Netflix and other tech giants that won big gains, the Nasdaq rose 1.0 percent even as the United States confronts a worsening coronavirus outbreak in much of the country.

California's governor ordered restaurants to close indoor dining in Los Angeles as officials around the country urged Americans to stay at home during the upcoming Independence Day holiday, with states reporting thousands of new coronavirus cases.

Tech giants including Amazon, Facebook, Google parent Alphabet and Netflix gained between 1.7 percent and 6.7 percent as the so-called "stay-at-home" stock trade proved popular.

"It's the same sort of COVID rotation we saw at the beginning of the pandemic," said Chris Low, chief economist of FHN Financial. "What this means for a lot of people is working at home longer."

New US economic data showed improvement from the worst of the downturn earlier in the spring.

Private firms hired 2.4 million workers in June, according to data from payroll services firm ADP. Combined with the three million hires in May, it means a quarter of the 20 million people who lost jobs in March and April due to the pandemic have returned to work.

Separately, the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index jumped to 52.6 percent in June, showing a return to growth as parts of the industry rebounded at unheard-of rates.

However leading auto manufacturers, including General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, reported sharply lower car sales in the second quarter.

Earlier, European stock markets all finished modestly lower.

European aircraft maker Airbus late Tuesday said it planned to axe about 15,000 jobs worldwide, or 11 percent of its workforce, in response to the "gravest crisis" the industry has ever seen.

SSP, the British owner of food outlets in railway stations and airports worldwide, said Wednesday it was eyeing 5,000 UK job cuts.

Earlier, Tokyo closed lower after a closely watched Bank of Japan survey showed that confidence among the country's biggest manufacturers had hit its lowest level since 2009, during the global financial crisis.

But Shanghai gained, with investors taking heart from the easing of reimposed lockdowns in China.

Among individual companies, Tesla jumped 3.7 percent as the electric car maker overtook Toyota to become the world's biggest car company by market value.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.3 percent at 25,734.97 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.5 percent at 3,115.86 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.0 percent at 10,154.63 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 6,157.96 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.4 percent at 12,260.57 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 4,926.94 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,228.45 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 22,121.73 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.4 percent at 3,025.98 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: Closed for a holiday

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.4 percent at $39.82 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.8 percent at $42.03 per barrel

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1249 from $1.1234 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2468 from $1.2401

Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.19 pence from 90.59 yen

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 107.43 yen from 107.93 yen

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