The stock market climbed on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 approaching its highest level in more than four months after promising early data on a COVID-19 vaccine and strong quarterly earnings from a big investment bank, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.

The Top Story

Moderna Inc. (Nasdaq: MRNA) surged after a small-scale study showed its experimental coronavirus vaccine produced a high level of virus-killing antibodies.

Travel-related stocks Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), Marriott International Inc. (Nasdaq: MAR) and Wynn Resorts Ltd. (Nasdaq: WYNN) rose between 8% and 20%, with the S&P 1500 airlines index jumping 10%.

The S&P 500 was on track to beat the tech-heavy Nasdaq for the fourth consecutive session, a feat only done twice since Wall Street launched its recovery last March.

Gains for the Nasdaq were capped by Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) which all slipped after surging to record highs recently.

Another driver of the stock market was Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) which posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings in the morning.

As of 4 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones was up 0.86%. The S&P 500 moved 0.91% higher. The Nasdaq ticked up 0.6% and the Russell 2000 rocketed up 3.9%.

Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*

S&P 500: 3,226 (+0.91%)
DOW: 26,870 (+0.86%)
NASDAQ: 10,550 (+0.59%)
RUSSELL 2000: 1,485 (+3.98%)
27.83 (-5.6%)
GOLD: $1,813 (-0.01%)
BITCOIN: $9,182.64 (-0.7%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 0.63% (-0.01)

* as of 4 p.m.

A Big Win

In this morning’s Opening Bell, we told you to be on the lookout for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) after the investment bank reported earnings of $6.26 per share — well above Wall Street estimates. The beat was driven by stronger equities trading revenue. Shares of Goldman Sachs were up 1% in late trading.

We also told you about Moderna Inc. (Nasdaq: MRNA) as the company reported strong results from an early clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine. Shares of Moderna rose 9.9% in afternoon trading.

Finally, we told you about MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) after the company said it expects to reopen its Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in New Jersey on July 26. Shares of MGM Resorts were up 11%.

Golden Nuggets

Gold prices held firm on Wednesday, above the key $1,800 level, as rising tensions between the U.S. and China firmed demand for the safe-haven metal.

President Donald Trump ordered an end to Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law, prompting Chinese officials to warn of retaliatory sanctions. Trump also closed the door on phase two trade negotiations with Beijing.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,808 an ounce as the dollar fell 0.2% against various other foreign currencies.

In the futures market:

  • Gold futures moved up 0.01% to trade at $1,813 an ounce.
  • Silver futures were up 1.15% to $19.75 an ounce.
  • Platinum was up 0.9% to $844.
  • Palladium jumped 1% to trade at $2,006 an ounce.

Cannabis Corner

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy thinks legalized cannabis sales could help the state’s struggling economy, especially after the coronavirus outbreak.

During a local radio show, Murphy said legalization was “an incredibly smart thing to do,” according to

“We’re not inventing marijuana,” he said. “It exists.”

New Jersey could end up borrowing as much as $9.9 billion over the next year to help offset the costs of COVID-19, pending approval from state lawmakers on a proposal later this week.

US Manufacturing Output Jumps in June

For the second straight month, U.S. factory output increased as motor vehicle production accelerated.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said manufacturing production increased 7.2% in June after rising 3.8% in May. Despite the increase, factory output was still 11.1% below its level in February.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast manufacturing output rising by 5.6% in June.

Businesses have restarted operations after being closed in mid-March in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. But there’s been a resurgence in infections, especially in the highly populated South and West, prompting some authorities in those regions to pause reopenings.

Today’s Big Winners:

(as of 3:15 p.m. EDT)

S&P 500: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) +19.3%

Nasdaq: American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) +14.8%

Dow: Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX) +3.9%

Today’s Big Losers:

(as of 3:15 p.m. EDT)

S&P 500: Fortinet Inc. (Nasdaq: FTNT) -6.1%

Nasdaq: ASML Holding NV (Nasdaq: ASML) -5.8%

Dow: UnitedHealth Grpup Inc. (NYSE: UNH) -2.7%

Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets