Stocks Log Muted Wins As U.S. Covid-19 Cases Drop Dramatically

Reopening plays were front and center on Wednesday, bolstering the broader market as Covid-19 infections dropped to their lowest level in almost a year, and new data showed roughly half of the U.S. population is at least partially vaccinated. The Dow wrapped up its 125th anniversary on a whisper, settling just north of breakeven. Meanwhile, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq logged modest gains.

Bitcoin saw a relatively muted day as well, as it continues to contend with the $38,000 mark. Elsewhere, investors closely monitored infrastructure talks in Washington, which could give the economy further support. Lawmakers are working to reach a compromise, with Republicans planning on sending U.S. President Joe Biden a roughly $1 trillion counteroffer this week. 

The Dow Jones Average (DJI - 34,323.05) added 10.6 points or 0.03% for the day. Nike (NKE) led the Dow components with a 1.9% rise, while Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) paced the laggards, falling 4%.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 4,195.99) rose 7.9 points, or 0.2% for the day. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 13,738.00) added 80.8 points, or 0.6% for the day.

Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 17.36) lost 1.5 point or 7.9% for the day.

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GOLD NOTCHES FIRST CLOSE ABOVE $1,900 SINCE JANUARY 

Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday to notch a fourth consecutive win. Boosting the commodity was a drop in weekly U.S. crude and gasoline supplies, which helped traders brush off concerns that Iranian oil may soon reenter the market, as negotiations over a nuclear deal continue. In turn, July-dated crude added 14 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $66.21 per barrel.

Gold prices were higher as well, settling above the significant $1,900 level for the first time since January, and turning positive for the year. Inflation concerns, as well as weakening Treasury yields were the main contributors to the precious metal's latest accomplishments. For the day, June-dated gold added $3.20, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,901.20 an ounce.

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