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story.lead_photo.caption FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2020, file photo specialist Meric Greenbaum, center, works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Tuesday, led by health care companies, retailers and banks.

The modest gains nudged the S&P 500 and Nasdaq to record highs for the second-straight day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished essentially flat.

Investors weighed another batch of mostly solid company earnings reports. Sprint soared after a federal judge cleared a major obstacle to the company being acquired by T-Mobile. Microsoft and Facebook slumped after federal regulators announced that they've ramped up an antitrust investigation into the two companies as well as Amazon, Apple and Google parent Alphabet.

Cruise operators, hotels and other companies that focus on travel made solid gains, the latest sign that traders are feeling less worried about the economic effects from the virus outbreak that began in China.

The S&P 500 index rose 5.66 points, or 0.2%, to 3,357.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.48 point, or less than 0.1%, to 29,276.34. It had been up 0.5%.

The Nasdaq composite gained 10.55 points, or 0.1%, to 9,638.94. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 9.85 points, or 0.6%, to 1,677.51.

"Stocks are collectively saying, 'Hey, maybe we can work past some of the noise with the virus; maybe the fallout won't be as big as we thought," said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. "And the U.S. economy, so far at least, looks like it's weathering it pretty well."

Markets in Europe and Asia rose.

Bond prices fell, sending yields higher. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.6% from 1.54% late Monday.

China remained mostly closed for business Tuesday as the death toll from the coronavirus continued to rise.

Travel-related stocks, which have been hammered by traders in recent weeks, notched gains Tuesday. Hilton Worldwide rose 1.6%, Carnival climbed 2.8% and American Airlines gained 3.6%.

Wall Street got some encouragement Tuesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. In his semiannual monetary report to Congress, Powell said it was too early to assess the threat the virus poses to the U.S. economy, but he noted that the economy "is in a very good place" with strong job creation and moderate growth.

Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that it has ordered Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet to turn over detailed information on their acquisitions going back to 2010 as part of an investigation into the five tech companies' market dominance.

Microsoft slid 2.3%, Facebook fell 2.8% and Apple dropped 0.6%. Amazon rose 0.8%, while Alphabet inched up 0.1%.

Investors also assessed the latest batch of company earnings reports.

AutoNation climbed 6.3% after the car dealership's latest quarterly results topped Wall Street's forecasts, aided by higher demand for used cars.

Cloud-based phone-system provider RingCentral also posted surprisingly good earnings and issued a solid forecast. Its stock rose 6.8%.

Results from other companies failed to impress traders.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber slumped 12.4% after the tire-maker's fourth-quarter earnings and revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts.

Under Armour plunged 18.9% after the athletic gear company said it may need to restructure this year, which may involve scuttling the opening of its New York City flagship store. The company also gave investors a weak profit forecast for the year and said the virus outbreak in China will drag first-quarter sales down by $50 million to $60 million.

Information for this article was contributed by Damian J. Troise of The Associated Press.

Business on 02/12/2020

Print Headline: Slight gains push S&P 500, Nasdaq to record highs


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