• Mortgage applications to buy a home climbed by 5% last week
  • The U.S. has now surpassed 3 million cases of covid-19
  • Florida, Texas and Arizona have been hit especially hard by the virus

Updated 12:15 p.m. EDT

Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average headed toward the flatline, up just 0.5% at 25,902 while the S&P 500 was up 0.21% at 3,151 and the Nasdaq added 0.88% at 10,434.

European markets closed lower. The London FTSE was off 0.55%, the German DAX dropped 0.97% and the French CAC lost 1.24%. The StoxxEurope 600 was off 0.67%.

The euro was up 0.52% against the dollar at $1.1339 while the British pound gained 0.4% to $1.2594. The Japanese yen slipped 0.15% to 107.36 to the dollar. The U.S. dollar index was off 0.34%.

Crude oil slipped to $40.56 while Brent crude fell to $43.05. Gold and silver were higher.

Original story

U.S. stocks climbed higher on Wednesday, despite an ever increasing number of covid-19 cases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 37.41 points to 25,927.59, while the S&P 500 rose 7.96 points to 3,153.28 and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 60.7 points to 10,404.59.

Some advisers of President Donald Trump suggested the U.S. could destabilize Hong Kong’s currency peg to the dollar in order to punish China.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said on Wednesday that mortgage applications to buy a home climbed by 5% last week.

“Mortgage rates declined to another record low as renewed fears of a coronavirus resurgence offset the impacts from a week of mostly positive economic data, such as June factory orders and payroll employment,” said Joel Kan, an MBA economist. “The average purchase loan size increased to $365,700 -- also another high -- as borrowers contend with limited supply and higher home prices.”

The U.S. has now surpassed 3 million cases of covid-19, with 46,500 new cases reported on Tuesday. Florida, Texas and Arizona have been hit especially hard.

“Concerns about rising U.S. Covid case counts continued to shake confidence in reopening efforts about the country,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group, told CNBC.

“It’s not unusual for stocks to take a breather at this point,” Susan Schmidt, a portfolio manager at Aviva Investors, told Bloomberg TV. “We could see ourselves in a bit of a trading range in the next couple of weeks,” ahead of U.S. earnings season.

Overnight in Asia markets finished mixed, as China’s Shanghai Composite index climbed 1.74%; Japan’s Nikkei-225 fell 0.78%; and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng exchange rose 0.59%.

In Europe markets traded mixed, as Britain’s FTSE-100 slipped 0.59%, while France’s CAC-40 dropped 1.28% and Germany’s DAX fell 0.78%.

Crude oil futures edged up 0.05% at $40.64 per barrel, Brent crude rose 0.16% at $43.15. Gold futures gained 0.7%.

The euro rose 0.43% at $1.1323 while the pound sterling edged up 0.22% at $1.2571.