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Stocks Edge Higher in Tepid Trade

U.S. stock market edges higher on Tuesday as volatility dips.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded higher on Tuesday, as investors looked past political turmoil in Washington.

All of Wall Street’s major indices finished in positive territory, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) rallying 60 points, or 0.2%, to 31,068.69.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks edged up 0.04% to close at 3,801.19. Gains were primarily concentrated in energy, materials, industrials, financials and consumer stocks.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) climbed 0.3% to settle at 13,072.43.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) edged slightly lower on Tuesday, partially offsetting the previous day’s gains.  The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday low of 22.83 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle down 3.4% at 23.27.

On the commodities front, precious metals extended their rally on Tuesday, partially offsetting last week’s massive drop. Gold for February settlement rose $4.30, or 0.2%, to $1,855.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures climbed 36 cents, or 1.5%, to $25.66 a troy ounce.

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The Final Word: Investors are looking ahead to the start of the Biden era, which they hope will provide more clarity on the economy, geopolitics and Covid-19. The rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has been slow to materialize, but investors remain hope that the treatment will help stem the tide of infections.