Stocks con­tinue streak, close at all-time highs

Tech, health care com­pa­nies see gains

The Republican Herald - - BUSINESS - by Mar­ley Jay

NEW YORK — Large tech­nol­ogy and health care com­pa­nies and smaller U.S.-fo­cused firms rose again Fri­day as stocks fin­ished the third quar­ter at record highs.

Stocks were mixed at the start of trad­ing, as they had been the day be­fore. But chip­mak­ers and big-name tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies pulled stocks higher, as they have done all year. Health care com­pa­nies also did bet­ter than the rest of the mar­ket. Tyson Foods climbed af­ter it gave strong profit fore­casts, and in­vestors cheered strong quar­terly re­sults from home­builder KB Home.

The mar­ket ended the quar­ter on a four-day win­ning streak that be­gan af­ter Fed­eral Re­serve Chair Janet Yellen said the cen­tral bank plans to con­tinue to rais­ing in­ter­est rates.

“It’s all about the con­fi­dence they have that de­spite low in­fla­tion, it still makes sense to raise in­ter­est rates,” Randy Fred­er­ick, vice pres­i­dent of trad­ing and de­riv­a­tives at the Sch­wab Cen­ter for Fi­nan­cial Re­search, said. “She’s con­fi­dent in the econ­omy and the eco­nomic back­drop is very solid.”

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex rose 9.30 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 2,519.36. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age turned higher to fin­ish with a gain of 23.89 points, or 0.1 per­cent, at 22,405.09. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite jumped 42.51 points, or 0.7 per­cent, to 6,495.96. The S&P 500 and Nas­daq both closed at all-time highs.

The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of small-com­pany stocks added 2.08 points, or 0.1 per­cent, to 1,490.86. It’s also at record highs af­ter a big rally this month. It climbed 6 per­cent in Septem­ber as in­vestors felt pos­i­tive about the U.S. econ­omy and hoped Congress and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion will re­duce taxes.

Tyson Foods jumped af­ter the food com­pany raised its an­nual guid­ance and said prof­its for its beef busi­ness were bet­ter than ex­pected. Thanks in part to cost cuts, Tyson also fore­cast a big­ger profit than an­a­lysts ex­pected for next year.

Tyson climbed $5, or 7.6 per­cent, to $70.45. The stock gained more ground Fri­day than it had for the rest of this year put to­gether. Ri­val Hormel Foods, whose brands in­clude Skippy, rose 43 cents, or 1.4 per­cent, to $32.14. Those com­pa­nies and their com­peti­tors have strug­gled in re­cent years as Amer­i­cans look for fresher food op­tions.

Tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies rose fur­ther and were the best­per­form­ing S&P 500 sec­tor in the third quar­ter. They also held that dis­tinc­tion in the first quar­ter. The S&P 500 tech­nol­ogy in­dex has climbed 26 per­cent in 2017, while the S&P 500 is up 12.5 per­cent.

Face­book added $2.14, or 1.3 per­cent, to $170.87 and chip equip­ment maker Ap­plied Ma­te­ri­als rose $1.47, or 2.9 per­cent, to $52.09. Chip­maker Nvidia ad­vanced $3.09, or 1.8 per­cent, to $178.77.

The re­cent gains for tech com­pa­nies have come in spite of a slump for Ap­ple, the world’s most valu­able pub­licly traded com­pany. While Ap­ple has soared this year, it’s down 4 per­cent since it an­nounced its new line of iPhones and other prod­ucts Sept. 12.

KB Home ad­vanced af­ter its third-quar­ter profit and sales beat es­ti­mates. The stock rose $1.90, or 8.6 per­cent, to $24.12. Other home­builders also rose. Mer­itage Homes picked up 85 cents, or 2 per­cent, to $44.40 and D.R. Horton ad­vanced 95 cents, or 2.4 per­cent, to $39.93.

Oil prices re­cov­ered and turned higher just be­fore the close of trad­ing. Bench­mark U.S. crude rose 11 cents to $51.67 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, the stan­dard for in­ter­na­tional oil prices, rose 13 cents to $57.54 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

U.S. crude oil rose 12 per­cent in the third quar­ter, which helped en­ergy com­pa­nies do bet­ter than the rest of the mar­ket. But on Fri­day those com­pa­nies gave back some of their re­cent gains.

Stocks have risen for eight quar­ters in a row, and Fred­er­ick, of the Sch­wab Cen­ter, said he ex­pects that to con­tinue in the fourth quar­ter as the global econ­omy is likely to keep grow­ing and in­ter­est rates in the U.S. should rise more, which will help prof­its for banks. How­ever, Fred­er­ick said it’s pos­si­ble that con­cerns about do­mes­tic pol­i­tics, in­clud­ing the fed­eral debt limit, or in­ter­na­tional con­cerns such as ten­sions with North Korea will weigh on stocks again, as they did at times in the third quar­ter.

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