S&P 500 snaps los­ing streak as in­dus­trial, tech stocks rise

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - BUSINESS - By Stan Choe

NEW YORK » U.S. stock in­dexes perked higher on Thurs­day fol­low­ing a nearly week­long lull, and the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 rose for the first time in five days.

In­dus­trial and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies helped lead the way, as broad swaths of the mar­ket climbed. Nearly two stocks rose for ev­ery one that fell on the New York Stock Ex­change, and the price of crude oil clawed back some of its sharp loss from Wed­nes­day.

The S&P 500 rose 7.71 points, or 0.3 per­cent, to 2,636.98 and snapped its long­est los­ing streak since March. Losses through that span were mod­est, though, with the in­dex down only 0.7 per­cent.

The Dow Jones in­dus­tri­als av­er­age rose 70.57, or 0.3 per­cent, to 24,211.48, the Nasdaq com­pos­ite gained 36.47, or 0.5 per­cent, to 6,812.84 and the Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of small-cap stocks jumped 11.59, or 0.8 per­cent, to 1,520.47.

The gains were a re­turn to form for a stock mar­ket that ear­lier had been driving higher on ex­pec­ta­tions that Washington will push through an over­haul of the tax sys­tem. The Se­nate passed its pro­posal over the week­end, and its plan would cre­ate slightly dif­fer­ent win­ners and losers among cor­po­rate tax­pay­ers than the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ ver­sion. This week, in­vestors have been try­ing to shift to the areas of the mar­ket they see ul­ti­mately ben­e­fit­ing the most, which led to some ups and downs.

Stocks may con­tinue to drift un­til in­vestors get more clar­ity on what the fi­nal tax pro­posal will be, said Tom Stringfel­low, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer at Frost In­vest­ment Ad­vi­sors.

“The mar­ket has al­ready been bid up on an­tic­i­pa­tion of this, and the real test will be what do both houses come up with and what is put on the pres­i­dent’s desk to sign,” he said.

In the mean­time, a strength­en­ing global econ­omy and climb­ing cor­po­rate earn­ings are sup­port­ing stock prices. “We have seen so many pos­i­tives flow through, from Europe to Asia to global trade,” Stringfel­low said. “It’s just those wild cards out there,” such as a po­ten­tial con­flict with North Korea, that worry in­vestors.

Tech­nol­ogy stocks were some of the mar­ket’s bet­ter per­form­ers, shak­ing off an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic weak stretch. The in­dus­try stum­bled ear­lier this week on ex­pec­ta­tions that it will ben­e­fit less from lower tax rates than fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies, re­tail­ers and other areas of the mar­ket.

Tech stocks in the S&P 500 rose 0.6 per­cent, and they trimmed their loss for the week to 0.3 per­cent. They are up nearly 36 per­cent for the year, dou­ble the S&P 500’s gain.

En­ergy stocks re­cov­ered some of their losses from a day ear­lier as the price of oil ticked higher.

Bench­mark U.S. crude added 73 cents to set­tle at $56.69 per bar­rel and re­cov­ered a chunk of its $1.66 loss from Thurs­day. Brent crude, the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, rose 98 cents, or 1.6 per­cent, to $62.20 a bar­rel in Lon­don. That helped en­ergy stocks in the S&P 500 rise 0.3 per­cent.

More ev­i­dence that the job mar­ket is strength­en­ing also ar­rived af­ter a gov­ern­ment re­port showed that fewer work­ers filed for un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits last week. The num­bers are con­sid­ered a proxy for lay­offs, and they of­fer an en­cour­ag­ing sign that the U.S. la­bor mar­ket con­tin­ues to im­prove.

On Fri­day, the gov­ern­ment will re­lease its closely watched monthly jobs re­port. If it shows as much strength in hir­ing dur­ing Novem­ber as econ­o­mists ex­pect, the Fed­eral Re­serve will likely be on track to raise in­ter­est rates at its meet­ing next week. It would be the third rate in­crease of the year.

The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note rose to 2.36 per­cent from 2.34 per­cent late Wed­nes­day.

The dol­lar rose to 113.13 Ja­panese yen from 112.28 yen late Wed­nes­day. The euro dipped to $1.774 from $1.1793, and the Bri­tish pound rose to $1.3465 from $1.3375.

In the com­modi­ties mar­kets, gold fell $13.00 to set­tle at $1,253.10 per ounce, sil­ver lost 15 cents to $15.80 per ounce and cop­per was close to flat at $2.96 per pound.

Nat­u­ral gas fell 16 cents to $2.76 per 1,000 cu­bic feet, heat­ing oil rose 4 cents to $1.90 per gal­lon and whole­sale gaso­line added 4 cents to $1.70 per gal­lon.

In stock mar­kets over­seas, Ja­pan’s Nikkei 225 in­dex rose 1.4 per­cent fol­low­ing its worst day since March, a 2 per­cent loss. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.3 per­cent, and South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.5 per­cent.

Ger­many’s DAX rose 0.4 per­cent, the FTSE 100 in Lon­don dipped 0.4 per­cent and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2 per­cent.

MARK LENNIHAN — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

U.S. stock in­dexes perked higher on Thurs­day fol­low­ing a nearly week­long lull, and the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 rose for the first time in five days.

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