U.S. stocks closed higher on Tuesday, with the S&P and Nasdaq setting record highs, in part due to a boost from the healthcare sector on positive COVID-19 vaccine news, while uncertainty over fresh fiscal stimulus held gains in check. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 104.09 points, or 0.35%, to 30,173.88, the S&P 500 gained 10.29 points, or 0.28%, to 3,702.25 and the Nasdaq Composite added 62.83 points, or 0.5%, to 12,582.77.
European shares ended a volatile session with modest gains on Tuesday, as investors weighed last-ditch attempts at a Brexit trade deal while closely tracking rising coronavirus cases in the region. After losing as much as 0.6% in the session, the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.2% to hover near 9-month highs. London’s FTSE 100, which has been outperforming regional peers in recent sessions, was flat.
Maltese markets remained closed during Tuesday’s national holiday.
Apple unveils new AirPods Max
Apple Inc on Tuesday unveiled its new AirPods Max, a set of wireless over-ear headphones, at $549 apiece, pricier than some of its other popular phone and tablet products, in a measure aimed at boosting sales over the December holiday period. The new AirPods, which will have up to 20 hours battery life, will be shipped starting next Tuesday, Apple said. But less than 12 hours after Apple announced the products, shipping times for U.S. customers had stretched past a dozen weeks, according to review of Apple’s website, pushing arrival times well into 2021.
The company said the AirPods Max contains nine microphones and two of its H1 chips, Apple’s custom-designed audio processor. The microphones help reduce wind noise on phone calls, provide noise cancellation and also adjust audio levels in real time using microphones inside the ear cups. The company’s last quarter results showed a rise in sales in its accessories unit, even as revenue from its flagship iPhones dropped 20.7%, the steepest quarterly drop in two years. For the company’s fiscal 2020, accessories sales were up 16% at $53.8 billion, while iPhone sales were down 3% at $137.8 billion.
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