Nasdaq hits record high; oil rises

In­vestors get pos­i­tive news about con­sumer con­fi­dence and home prices, both ris­ing as 2016 ends.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Alex Veiga

A day of quiet trad­ing on Wall Street ended Tues­day with the Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age inch­ing closer to 20,000 and a record high for the Nasdaq com­pos­ite.

Ma­te­ri­als and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies led U.S. stocks slightly higher over­all. En­ergy com­pa­nies also rose as the price of crude oil moved higher. Util­i­ties and phone com­pany stocks edged lower.

Trad­ing was light fol­low­ing the long hol­i­day week­end, with less than 1.9 bil­lion shares traded on the New York Stock Ex­change. That’s the light­est full day of trad­ing since October 2015.

“Mar­kets are mov­ing to­ward 20,000 and bond yields are up; there’s a lit­tle bit of buoy­ancy in oil prices,” said Erik David­son, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer at Wells Fargo Pri­vate Bank. “(But) trad­ing is very, very thin.”

The Dow added 11.23 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 19,945.04. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 index gained 5.09 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 2,268.88. The Nasdaq rose 24.75 points, or 0.5 per­cent, to 5,487.44. The tech-heavy index’s pre­vi­ous record high was 5,483 on Dec. 20.

The three ma­jor in­dexes are on pace for solid gains for 2016, led by the Dow, which is up 14.5 per­cent. The S&P 500 is on track for an 11 per­cent gain, while the Nasdaq is headed for a 9.6 per­cent gain. Small-com­pany stocks are up even more. The Rus­sell 2000 is up 21 per­cent so far this year.

While lit­tle new ma­jor eco­nomic or com­pany data is ex­pected this week as 2016 winds to a close, in­vestors did get some fresh fig­ures on con­sumer con­fi­dence and home prices Tues­day.

The Con­fer­ence Board said its con­sumer con­fi­dence index climbed to 113.7 in De­cem­ber, up from 109.4 in Novem­ber and the high­est since it reached 114 in August 2001. The lat­est read­ing is another sign con­sumers are con­fi­dent in the af­ter­math of a di­vi­sive elec­tion cam­paign.

Mean­while, the Stan­dard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller na­tional home price index rose 5.6 per­cent in October, as buy­ers bid­ding for scarce prop­er­ties drove home prices higher.

Traders also gave a boost to tech­nol­ogy stocks, in­clud­ing Fitbit. The com­pany climbed 7.4 per­cent af­ter the fit­ness tracker’s app be­came the sec­ond-most down­loaded in the iTunes store. The stock added 54 cents to $7.83.

Some drug com­pa­nies also made big moves. En­dologix plunged 26.7 per­cent af­ter the drug­maker said that the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion has or­dered it to cease ship­ping a de­vice used to treat ab­dom­i­nal aor­tic aneurysms be­cause of man­u­fac­tur­ing prob­lems. En­dologix shares lost $1.92 to $5.27.

Bio­gen rose 1.2 per­cent on news that the FDA ap­proved a treat­ment for spinal mus­cu­lar at­ro­phy, a rare ge­netic dis­or­der. Bio­gen shares added $3.59 to $291.12. Io­nis gained $1.71, or 3.2 per­cent, to $55.12.

Bench­mark U.S. crude rose 88 cents, or 1.7 per­cent, to close at $53.90 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, used to price in­ter­na­tional oils, gained 93 cents, or 1.7 per­cent, to close at $56.09 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

In cur­rency trad­ing, the dol­lar rose to 117.45 yen from 117.26. The euro rose to $1.0458 from $1.0452.

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