Nas­daq at record for 4th day in row

Los Angeles Times - - COMPANY TOWN - Associated press

The Nas­daq com­pos­ite in­dex notched its fourth record-high close in a row Tues­day, ek­ing out a mod­est gain on a day when the other ma­jor U.S. stock in­dexes barely budged.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex closed un­changed, while the Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age posted a slight loss. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Ex­change.

Consumer-fo­cused com­pa­nies, banks and health­care stocks were among the big­gest gain­ers. Real es­tate com­pa­nies lagged the most. En­ergy stocks fell fol­low­ing a drop in crude oil prices.

En­cour­ag­ing re­ports on small-busi­ness con­fi­dence and job open­ings helped keep stocks in the green early in the day. But later, the in­dexes be­gan to wa­ver.

“I do think the mar­ket stays kind of quiet un­til it re­ally hits earn­ings sea­son,” said David Chalup­nik, head of eq­ui­ties for Nu­veen As­set Man­age­ment.

Although the busiest stretch of the next cor­po­rate earn­ings sea­son doesn’t be­gin un­til Fri­day, sev­eral firms re­ported out­looks or pre­lim­i­nary re­sults Tues­day that pleased in­vestors.

Il­lu­mina jumped 16.6% to $165.04 af­ter it re­ported bet­ter-than-ex­pected fourthquar­ter sales. The San Diego com­pany also launched a new ge­netic se­quenc­ing sys­tem called No­vaSeq.

Alaska Air Group rose 5.2% to $92 af­ter the air­line, which bought Vir­gin Amer­ica in De­cem­ber, re­ported strong monthly re­sults.

Zim­mer Biomet climbed 6.2% to $113.67 af­ter the med­i­cal de­vice maker pro­jected bet­ter-than-ex­pected fourth-quar­ter sales.

Other firms’ out­looks put traders in a sell­ing mood.

As­cena Retail Group slumped 10% to $5.41 af­ter the com­pany slashed its profit forecast, cit­ing hol­i­day sea­son sales, which fell for most of its store chains, in­clud­ing Ann Tay­lor, Lane Bryant and Dress­barn.

Mean­while, in­vestors boosted Pa­cific Con­ti­nen­tal on news that the hold­ing com­pany for Pa­cific Con­ti­nen­tal Bank will be bought by Columbia Banking Sys­tem for $644 mil­lion. Pa­cific Con­ti­nen­tal shares leaped 25.7% to $26.15. Columbia shares slid 2.9% to $42.05.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals jumped 6.8% to $16.40 af­ter the Cana­dian drug­maker said it will sell $2 bil­lion in as­sets to pay down debt.

U.S. bench­mark crude oil fell $1.14, or 2.2%, to $50.82 a bar­rel. Brent crude fell $1.30, or 2.4%, to $53.64 a bar­rel.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note rose to 2.38% from 2.37%.

The pound held steady at $1.2163. The dol­lar fell to 115.73 yen from Mon­day’s 116.06. The euro fell to $1.0560 from $1.0577.

Gold edged up 60 cents to $1,185.50 an ounce. Sil­ver rose 17 cents to $16.85 an ounce. Cop­per rose 7 cents to $2.61 a pound.

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