Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened a tad higher on Wednesday but participants were largely content to sit on the sidelines with one eye on Hurricane Laura as it bears down on the Gulf of Mexico coast, and the other on the Federal Reserve’s keenly-awaited symposium on Thursday.
The market was given a modest boost by the only major economic data of the day, as durable goods orders rose 11.2% in July, much more than the 4.3% rise expected. Even when adjusted for volatile defense and aviation items, core durable goods rose 2.4% on the month, beating expectations for a 2.0% rise.
The Nasdaq in particular was helped by strength in software stocks, after Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) reported much better-than-expected results for the latest quarter after the closing bell on Tuesday. Salesforce stock rose 17.9%, for once overshadowing the likes of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock, which rose 1.6% and 2.0%, respectively.
Tesla was bid up after Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) more than doubled its target price to $2,500. Sell-side analysts have been forced to ratchet up their estimates for the stock to bring them into line with a new reality that retail investors, who trade more on momentum than on fundamentals, are playing the dominant role in setting the stock’s price. However, Tesla’s success in scaling up production in recent quarters has also forced them to abandon their previous skepticism about its ability to execute.
Other standout gainers included Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS) stock, which rose 10.2% to its highest in three years on the back of a strong quarter in which customers binged on hiking and workout gear as the pandemic forced a change in exercise habits across the country.