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* Microsoft crosses $2 trillion in market cap
* Retail darlings Alfi, Torchlight extend declines
* Indexes: Dow and S&P flat, Nasdaq up 0.11%
June 23 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq hovered near its all-time
high on Wednesday, helped by a boost from Tesla shares, with
investors cheering data that showed a record peak for U.S.
factory activity in June.
Data firm IHS Markit said its flash U.S. manufacturing
Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a reading of 62.6 this month,
beating estimates of 61.5, but manufacturers are still
struggling to secure raw materials and qualified workers,
substantially raising prices.
The "high level of today's surveys will provide some
confirmation for the Fed that the time to begin taking its foot
off the accelerator is not far away," said Jai Malhi, global
market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
U.S. stocks rose with the Nasdaq notching a record closing
peak on Tuesday after Fed Chair Jerome Powell reassured that
U.S. the central bank will not raise interest rates too quickly
on inflation fears alone.
Powell's comments follow the Fed's projection of an increase
in interest rates as soon as 2023, sooner than anticipated which
sparked a sharp profit booking in the so called "reflation"
stocks and triggered a move into tech-heavy growth names.
"As you get this idea that the reopening has been discounted
and the recovery growth has been digested by the market, we're
going to go back to a economy that has a slower growth rate,"
said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt
"In that environment, growth (stocks) will be attractive."
Seven of the 11 majors S&P sectors rose, with economy-linked
industrials, materials and energy
among the biggest gainers. Energy jumped 0.4% on the back of
higher oil prices.
Tesla Inc gained 4.3% as the electric vehicle maker
opened a solar-powered charging station with on-site power
storage in China and as bitcoin prices retraced some losses.
At 11:26 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 11.66 points, or 0.03%, at 33,933.92, the S&P 500
was up 1.45 points, or 0.03%, at 4,247.89, and the Nasdaq
Composite was up 16.05 points, or 0.11%, at 14,269.32.
Nikola Corp gained 3% after the electric and
hydrogen vehicle maker said it is investing $50 million in
Wabash Valley Resources LLC to produce clean hydrogen in the
U.S. Mid-West for its zero-emission trucks.
Among so-called meme stocks, software firm Alfi Inc
dropped 26.8% after more than doubling in value in the prior
session, while Torchlight Energy Resources Inc slumped
30.1% for the second day after announcing an upsized stock
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.72-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and by a 1.43-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 30 new 52-week highs and no new low,
while the Nasdaq recorded 73 new highs and 18 new lows.
(Reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing
by Maju Samuel)