Tech firms aid stocks’ record run

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - ALEX VEIGA

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.

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