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MARKET PULSE

U.S. stocks ended near records Tuesday, with the Nasdaq Composite trading near its highest level since late April as government bond yields retrat and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index come within a stone’s throw from all-time record closes not seen since May 7. The Dow finished off less than 0.1% at around 34,600, while the S&P 500 rose less than 0.1% to 4,227. The Nasdaq Composite Index meanwhile, added about 0.3% to around 13,925, marking its best close since April 30, FactSet data show. The gains for the rate-sensitive tech-heavy index came as the 30-year Treasury bond hit its lowest level since Feb. 26. The moves in the main stock benchmarks come after the Dow and S&P 500 booked slight losses Monday. Outside the main benchmarks, the small-capitalization Russell 2000 index rose over 1%. Investors have been mostly holding tight this week, with Monday’s volumes on the New York Stock Exchange clocking in below average for the year-to-date, according to Dow Jones Market Data. What have investors been waiting for? May’s consumer-price index will be released Thursday, helping investors gauge how fast prices have been rising during the latest leg of the U.S. recovery. On that front, U.S. oil futures climbed back to $70 a barrel Tuesday, the highest in nearly three years, as oil-producing nations appeared committed to raising global output in a measured way, without flooding the market with crude as the world’s biggest economies work on notching further recovery milestones from the COVID crisis. In economic reports, April data released Tuesday morning showed the U.S. international trade deficit narrowed to $68.9 billion from a record $75 billion a month earlier. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal had looked for a consensus $69 billion gap. Meanwhile, job openings in the U.S. soared to 9.3 million in April from a revised 8.3 million in the prior month, the Labor Department said. The data underlines concerns about employers inability to fill jobs despite unemployment that remains high as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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