Nasdaq and S&P 500 Reach Record Highs Thanks to Technology Stocks
Thu Jul 20 2017
Mark Cooper (2137 articles)

Nasdaq and S&P 500 Reach Record Highs Thanks to Technology Stocks

A broad barometer of global stock s posted a ninth straight session of gains on Wednesday as earnings season in the United States and Europe heated up, while the dollar clawed back from 10-month lows and oil prices jumped.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq marked record highs in the United States, picking up from strong performances by major European stock indexes, with the tech sector giving a boost in both regions.

MSCI’s world stock s index marked its longest winning streak since October 2015. The global index gained 0.46 percent, setting a record high for a fifth straight session.

“In the U.S., the earnings season seems to be surprising a little bit on the upside,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland.

“What we have seen recently in the economic reports suggests it should be even better overseas … So we have come to the point where things looks pretty good in the U.S. and it looks even better in prospect overseas, so what’s not to like about equities.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 66.02 points, or 0.31 percent, to 21,640.75, the S&P 500 gained 13.22 points, or 0.54 percent, to 2,473.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 40.74 points, or 0.64 percent, to 6,385.04.

Morgan Stanley shares climbed 3.3 pct after the bank’s profit report.

Biotech Vertex soared 20.9 pct after stunning cystic fibrosis drug data.

Not all was rosy in earnings season, as IBM shares dropped 4.2 pct after its report, holding back the Dow’s gains.

About a week into the heart of second-quarter reporting season, S&P 500 earnings are now expected to rise 8.7 percent, up from an expectation of an 8-percent rise from the start of July, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“Coming off a first quarter which was the strongest in terms of corporate earnings growth since 2011, this market needs to see a continuation of that trend to support these valuations,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. “And I think, so far so good.”

In Europe, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.71 percent. Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML’s shares gained 5.8 pct after the firm’s quarterly report, lifting the region’s tech sector to its biggest daily percentage gain since September.

The dollar edged higher against a basket of currencies a day after the greenback’s sharp decline was sparked by a fresh setback to President Donald Trump’s domestic agenda.

The dollar index rose 0.21 percent, with the euro down 0.33 percent to $ 1.1514.

But the greenback hit a more than three-week low against the yen as traders awaited meetings of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan (BoJ). Market watchers will be looking to see if the recent strength of the euro and the yen influence their policy outlooks.

“FX investors had a very substantial long dollar/yen position,” said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. “I think they’re just squaring up ahead of the BoJ,” he said.

U.S. Treasury yields were little changed on light trading volume with benchmark yields hitting their lowest levels in nearly three weeks in advance of Thursday’s ECB meeting.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 2/32 in price to yield 2.2678 percent, from 2.263 percent late on Tuesday.

Oil prices jumped after a U.S. report showed a bigger weekly draw than forecast in crude and gasoline stock s along with a surprise drop in distillate inventories.

U.S. crude rose 1.51 percent to $ 47.10 per barrel and Brent was last at $ 49.69, up 1.74 percent on the day. The New York Stock Exchange is seen on Wall Street on May 1, 2012 in New York City.

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper

Mark Cooper is Political / Stock Market Correspondent. He has been covering Global Stock Markets for more than 6 years.


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