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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. stocks continue their surge, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq all finishing the day higher on Wednesday, as seemingly every sector of the market has rallied since the start of the third quarter.

What it means: The "buy anything" rally continues as reopening and stay-at-home stocks both remain bid and every sector of the S&P has seen a sizable jump since the quarter began on July 1.

Between the lines: U.S. economic data has been mixed in recent days, as private payroll processor ADP's jobs report missed expectations by more than 500,000 jobs and the Fed's Beige Book found the economic recovery slowed in August and “Continued uncertainty and volatility related to the pandemic, and its negative effect on consumer and business activity, was a theme echoed across the country.”

The state of play: The S&P 500 hit a new record high and rose by the most in nearly two months, closing higher for the ninth time in the past 10 sessions.

  • Defensive and value stocks led the gains, catching up after tech stocks boomed on Tuesday.
  • The Russell 1000 Value Index rose 1.7% and utilities and financial stocks — two of the three worst-performing sectors in 2020 — each rose nearly 1.4%.

The big picture: The Nasdaq has risen by 18.7% in just the third quarter. The S&P and Dow are trailing closely behind, having gained 15% and 13%, respectively, since July 1.

  • September has built on August's impressive numbers, when the S&P rose by more than 7%, for the best August since 1986, the Dow had its best August since 1984, and the Nasdaq recorded its strongest August since 2000.

Go deeper

Survey: CEO confidence soars above pre-pandemic levels

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Axios Visuals

CEO confidence rebounded above pre-pandemic levels this quarter, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the largest U.S. companies by lobbying group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which is still below the record high seen in the wake of Trump's corporate tax cuts, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which hit rock bottom when the pandemic hit. Now CEOs are feeling even better than before the coronavirus roiled the economy.

FTC releases findings on how Big Tech eats little tech

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan signaled changes are on the way in how the agency scrutinizes acquisitions after revealing the results of a study of a decade's worth of Big Tech company deals that weren't reported to the agency.

Why it matters: Tech's business ecosystem is built on giant companies buying up small startups, but the message from the antitrust agency this week could chill mergers and acquisitions in the sector.

First look: Biden's economic case for green cards

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) is promoting the economic benefits and costs of providing green cards to millions of unauthorized immigrants in a blogpost being released on Friday, according to a draft provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The post comes as the fate of millions of immigrants, including those with Temporary Protected Status or DACA protections, rests with Congress — and the Senate parliamentarian.