US equities climb to another milestone as S&P 500 hits 2,500 mark
The S&P 500 Index powered past 2,500 for the first time, notching its third round-number milestone of the year as the equities market in the the United States continue to climb.
The benchmark gained 0.2 per cent to 2,500.23 on Friday, capping its biggest weekly advance since January, as technology shares rebounded and banks rose with Treasury yields. Up 12 per cent, the S&P 500 is on course for its best annual gain in four years.
Equities broke out of a month-long trading range after the worst-case scenarios from Hurricane Irma and North Korea didn’t materialise. As geopolitical fears subsided, investors focused again on fundamentals, where economic growth remains stable and corporate earnings are expected to increase through at least 2019.
“This kind of resiliency has allowed the market to absorb negative headlines time and again,” said Frank Cappelleri, a senior equity trader at Instinet in New York. “While traders may be hesitant to invest fresh capital at price levels that may appear too high, they are forced to anyway. Otherwise, they run the risk of missing out.”
The S&P 500 rose 1.6 per cent for the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 2.2 per cent. The biggest gains came Monday, after Hurricane Irma inflicted less damage than forecast in Florida following Harvey’s devastating sweep through Texas.
Markets also rallied after North Korea’s decision of not conducting another anticipated missile test. Together, the passing of the two events sent equities to the biggest one-day rally since April on Monday, leaving benchmarks at record levels. Those gains held over the next four days, when the S&P 500 churned in a tight range that was not broken even when a projectile did fly from Pyongyang on Friday.
“Basically all of this week’s gains came on Monday, but it’s still nice to see that the market has been ‘digesting’ these gains with a sideways move rather than a pull-back,” said Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak in New York.
Healthcare and technology stocks have led the S&P 500 in its latest 100-point trip, jumping at least 6 per cent. NRG Energy, Nvidia and Boeing are biggest winners, with shares surging 30 per cent or more.
The gauge ended last year at 2,238.83, sailing past 2,300 on February 9 and crossed 2,400 three months later. Other benchmark indexes also hit fresh highs, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average topping 22,200 and the Nasdaq Composite Index approaching 6,500.