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Stocks rise; S&P 500 approaches another all-time high

                                A street sign is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange in New York.
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A street sign is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

NEW YORK >> U.S. stocks rose broadly in afternoon trading today, sending the S&P 500 toward another record high, as investors focus on the possibility that coronavirus vaccines could soon help usher in a fuller global economic recovery.

The S&P 500 was up 1.3%, with technology and financial stocks driving a big part of the rally. The strong opening to December follows a 10.8% surge for the broad index in November, marking its best month since April. The index is also on track to surpass its record high of 3,638.35 set on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 247 points, or 0.8%, to 29,885 as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Nasdaq gained 1.4%. Treasury yields also rose in another sign of optimism from investors.

European regulators could approve a coronavirus vaccine developed by drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech within four weeks. The companies have already asked for approval to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. Moderna is also asking U.S. and European regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19.

Roughly 80% of the companies in the S&P 500 rose, as did every sector in the index. Technology companies, which have been leading the market higher throughout the pandemic, led the way. Banks, industrial companies and others that rely on direct consumer spending weren’t far behind. Hopes for a vaccine and return to economic normalcy have been helping to shift momentum toward those companies.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.91% from 0.83% late Monday, a big move. The higher yields are also helping to bolster banks, which rely on higher bond yields to charge more lucrative interest on loans.

The economic recovery has been stunted by a resurgence of the virus, but investors are looking past much of that because of good progress on vaccine development. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said in a report that the world economy will bounce back to its pre-pandemic levels by the end of next year, though the recovery will be uneven across the countries and many risks remain.

European markets rose. Germany’s DAX gained 0.7% and the CAC 40 in France rose 1.4%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.9%. Markets in Asia also rose.

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