US eq­ui­ties climb to an­other mile­stone as S&P 500 hits 2,500 mark

The National - News - - BUSINESS -

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.

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