Tech firms aid stocks’ record run
Gains in technology companies helped lift U.S. stock indexes higher Monday, nudging the market once again into record territory. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed at a record high, as did the Dow Jones industrial average. The latest gain extended the Dow’s winning streak to 10 days. The S& P 500 rose 4.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,480.91. The Dow gained 25.61 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,118.42. The Nasdaq composite added 32.21 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,383.77. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1.85 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,414.17. Traders bid up shares in microchip makers and other technology companies. Grocery chains, drugstore operators and other consumer-focused companies also helped drive the market higher. Energy companies declined the most as the price of crude oil fell. Banks and industrial companies also lagged. Investors were mostly focused on the latest company earnings and deal news. “Earnings have been strong, particularly revenue growth has come in stronger than initial estimates,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “And overall the guidance has been strong.” Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.26 percent from 2.27 percent late Friday. Positive economic data and strong company earnings have helped nudge the stock market mostly higher in recent weeks. Heading into Monday, about 82 percent of S&P 500 companies had reported quarterly results, with roughly 52 percent having posted betterthan-expected earnings and revenue, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Technology companies led all others with 73 percent of the sector’s results beating Wall Street’s expectations. Investors have welcomed the positive earnings growth, pushing the market further into record territory and fueling speculation about how high the market can go before there is a pullback. “What you want to see is a broad range of stocks pushing the market higher, and what we’re seeing are fewer stocks pushing the market higher,” Krosby said. “That’s not necessarily a prescription for a major pullback, but it’s something to watch. Statistically, August and September tend to be the least-hospitable period for the market.” Technology companies led the market’s gainers Monday. Semiconductor supplier Lam Research rose $ 5.79, or 3.9 percent, to $155.84. KLA-Tencor rose $3.18, or 3.6 percent, to $92.01. Energy stocks were on the other end of the spectrum. Pioneer Natural Resources fell $5.70, or 4.2 percent, to $129.64, while Newfield Exploration lost $1.39, or 5 percent, to $26.44. Some companies’ quarterly results disappointed the market. Armstrong Flooring shares slumped 17.5 percent after the company’s latest results fell well short of analysts’ forecasts. The stock slid $3.03 to $14.25. The market welcomed the proposed combination of NxStage Medical and Germany’s Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. NxStage, a medical device company, agreed to be acquired by Fresenius for $30 a share in a cash deal valued at about $2 billion. NxStage shares vaulted $6.53, or 28.2 percent, to $29.67. Oil prices fell. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 19 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $49.39 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $52.37 a barrel in London.