October 20, 2017

Markets Edge Higher

Stocks slowly drifted higher on Monday, appearing to resume a rally that pushed major indexes to record highs last week on improving earnings and reassuring signs about the economy.

In afternoon trading the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was 0.3 percent higher, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.1 percent, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.5 percent.

Apple shares were among the top gainers, up 2.3 percent and bolstering the Nasdaq composite index and benchmark S.P.

Market watchers said there is more room for stocks to rise as investors use weakness in the market as an opportunity to add to positions.

“There were some negative sentiment heading into earnings and concerns about the spring slowdown or ‘sell in May and go away,’ ” said Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati. “Also economic numbers were weak. We don’t see that now. We’ve hit this sweet spot in economic data where numbers are better-than-expected. But on an absolute basis, they won’t make the Fed unwind their support for stimulus.”

Although weak economic data from the euro zone and China has caused concerns over the global growth outlook, Friday’s surprisingly strong jobs data fueled gains that took the indexes to record levels.

Many analysts say they expect a correction by stocks, which markets have largely avoided this year because traders use any weakness as an opportunity to add to positions.

A number of bellwether names rallied on Monday, with Bank of America up 3.9 percent. Humana jumped 2.9 percent as the S.P.’s biggest percentage gainer. JPMorgan upgraded the stock to “overweight.”

But Johnson Johnson shares were down more than 1 percent, weighing on the blue-chip Dow average.

BMC Software agreed to be acquired by a private equity group led by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital Corp for about $6.9 billion. Shares were flat.

Tyson Foods reported a steep drop in its second-quarter earnings, hurt as customers switched to chicken from beef to save money. The stock dropped 4.4 percent.

Overseas, European shares closed down about 0.1 percent as investors took profits following a rally in the previous week. Volumes were light as London and Tokyo markets closed for a holiday.

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The dollar was up 0.3 percent at 99.88 yen, extending Friday’s 1 percent gain. The yen has fallen steadily since the Bank of Japan announced a massive plan last month to boost the Japanese economy.

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On Friday the S.P. closed above 1,600 points and the Dow briefly traded above 15,000 for the first time ever, with a number of bellwether companies hitting 52-week highs. For the week, the Dow rose 1.8 percent, the S.P. gained 2 percent and the Nasdaq rose 3 percent in its biggest weekly climb since the first week of the year.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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