S&P lands at another record

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

U.S. Stocks Close Higher; S&P 500 Sets Record.

TRADING:In spite of flat retail sales and a deep fall in consumer sentiment this month, US indices ended the week higher on cautious trading, analysts said Investors took a benign view of surprisingly poor consumer spending trends this week, bidding US stocks higher despite downcast government and corporate reports on the retail sector.US shares ended little changed on Friday, with the S&P 500 edging up to a record high for a second straight session after a ream of weak economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 81.45 (0.45 percent) to 18,272.56, while the tech-rich NASDAQ Composite Index advanced 44.74 (0.89 percent) to 5,048.29. That followed a more substantial 1.08 percent jump on Thursday that fueled speculation the benchmark index might trend higher after having oscillated in a range for much of the past three months. And when records have been set, it has often been followed soon after by a retreat in the broad market. “We’re hitting new highs, but no one is jumping up and down,” said Mike Balkin, portfolio manager of $514 million William Blair Small Cap Growth Fund. However, weak industrial output and consumer sentiment reports on Friday did little to instill confidence in investors about the economy’s growth momentum. Also disheartening was Friday’s news that the University of Michigan’s US consumer sentiment index plummeted to 88.6 this month from 95.9 last month.

On the corporate side, there were one or two positive blips, such as results from upscale burger chain Shake Shack, which posted a 56.3 percent gain in first-quarter sales to US$37.8 million. However, department chain giant Macy’s reported results that missed market expectations, as it cited a number of factors, including the West Coast port slowdown, severe winter weather and the impact of the dollar. Adding to the negative tone, economists cut their forecasts for US economic growth in the second quarter and the full year, and trimmed expectations for US labor market gains. “There is some concern about the first-quarter weakness spilling into the current quarter,” said Ilya Feygin, managing director at WallachBeth Capital in New York. The week’s most high-profile merger was Verizon’s US$4.4 billion takeover of Internet pioneer AOL in an effort to boost the telecom giant’s presence in online media and advertising.

In other deals, Noble Energy bought Rosetta Resources for US$2.1 billion and industrial company Danaher acquired walter-filtration company Pall for US$13.8 billion. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,732 to 1,313, for a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,381 issues fell and 1,365 advanced for a 1.01-to-1 ratio favoring decliners. The benchmark S&P 500 index posted 38 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows during Friday’s session; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 94 new highs and 35 new lows. Industrial production, which measures the output of U.S. manufacturers, utilities and mines, decreased for the fifth consecutive month in April, the Federal Reserve said. That is up from 16.3 a year ago. “The data has been OK, not as robust as people would have liked…and that’s why markets are a little bit jumpier,” said Jack Caffrey, equity portfolio manager at J.P.

In corporate news, Netflix is in talks with Chinese online broadcasting companies about bringing its content to China, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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