US stocks take a breather after hitting records as traders balk at spiking virus cases

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  • US stocks slipped, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average trading lower after closing at record highs on Monday.
  • Major US indexes were up sharply on Monday after the release of positive data on Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine – but investors elected to take a breather on Tuesday.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks slipped on in Tuesday following record closes the prior day for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones industrial average.

Despite a steady rise in daily COVID-19 cases, investor optimism remained elevated following Monday’s release of positive data from Moderna’s virus vaccine, making it the second vaccine that has demonstrated an efficacy rate of more than 90%.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Tuesday:

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Technology stocks, which underperformed value stocks on Monday, got a boost in early trades on Tuesday, driven in part by a move higher in shares of Tesla and Amazon.

Tesla jumped on Tuesday after the S&P 500 Index Committee said it would be adding the electric car manufacturer to its index. The move will boost demand for shares of Tesla as trillions of dollars are indexed and benchmarked to the popular benchmark

Amazon climbed after it announced the launch of its own digital pharmacy, setting itself up to directly compete with physical retail pharmacy chains like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid.

Read more: RBC: Buy these 25 healthcare-tech stocks to reap the benefits of the US digital health industry, which is estimated to reach $92 billion by 2025 and has been accelerated by 5 years because of COVID-19

Healthcare stocks Merck, Pfizer, and Abbvie got a boost on Tuesday after it was revealed in quarterly 13F filings that Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway bought billions worth of shares in the pharmaceutical companies. 

Oil prices declined. West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 1.9%, to $40.57 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, fell 1.7%, to $43.08 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Gold rose on Wednesday, increasing as much as 0.2%, to $1,893.52 per ounce.

Read More: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 20 deeply underpriced stocks now before the recovery helps them rebound and crush Wall Street’s low expectations in 2021

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