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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.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.