Wall Street was higher on Tuesday afternoon, with the S&P 500 sitting less than half of 1 per cent away from a record high while market volatility retreated to its lowest in half a year.

The Vix fell as low as 10.52, the first time the popular measure of market volatility — often referred to as Wall Street’s “fear gauge” — had been below 11 since January 24, just before it then spiked higher and triggered a sharp stock market sell-off.

The S&P 500 was up 0.4 per cent and was sitting a little over 11 points away from its record intraday and closing high from late January. Its best-performing sector today was energy, up 1 per cent, followed by a 0.9 per cent gain for industrials and a 0.6 advance for financials.

Consumer staples, down 0.5 per cent, were worst off, followed by utilities and healthcare, each down about 0.1 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.6 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4 per cent.

The afternoon fireworks were all about Tesla, whose stock was halted about an hour after Elon Musk tweeted he was considering taking the company private. His tweets caused shares to spike higher, but it was not immediately clear to the market whether Mr Musk was serious or joking.

Shares in the electric carmaker were up 7.4 per cent before being halted pending the release of material information, according to the Nasdaq.

Bonds were weaker, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury up 3.5 basis points to 2.973 per cent. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

The dollar was also weaker, with the DXY index, tracking the greenback against a weighted basket of global currencies, down 0.1 per cent from yesterday’s one-year high at 95.227.

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