Monday, 18 December, 2017

USA stocks climb to another milestone this year

Nellie Chapman | 17 September, 2017, 11:15

USA stock indexes are inching mostly higher in early trading on Wall Street as more gains for Boeing send the Dow Jones industrial average above the record high it reached a day earlier. Receipts at retail stores fell 0.2% in August, data from the Commerce Department showed Friday. The S&P 500 gained 1.7 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,497.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 16.33 points, or 0.25 percent, to 6,445.42. This is a boost from SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF's previous monthly dividend of $0.24. Stocks made big gains Monday and as Hurricane Irma weakened, and they didn't do too much after that, but still wound up with their biggest weekly gain since the beginning of January. Oil ended near $50 a barrel to cap its best week since July.

FED WATCH: Investors were also digesting the first of a batch of US economic data as they await the Fed's next move on interest rates.

Stocks initially struggled for direction as investors weighed North Korea's decision to fire a missile over Japan for the second time in a month, but soon found firmer footing. The August decline in sales and downward revisions to the prior months make it more likely that consumption, the biggest part of the economy, will be hard-pressed to match the 3.3 percent growth pace of the prior quarter. Technology stocks helped indexes to gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) rose 0.3% to close at 22,268.34 for its sixth consecutive gain.

The tech sector (+0.3%) broke its two-day losing streak, as the PHLX Semiconductor Index (+1.7%) rose for the fifth straight day and Apple (+1%) snapped out of its recent funk.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares lost 0.41 percent to close at 1,495.38. They yielded 1.06 percent and 1.19 percent in when-issued trading.

Traders may have been expressing optimism that the impact of the hurricanes may lead the Federal Reserve to delay an increase in interest rates. The benchmark 10-year yield started the week near 2.09%; it traded around 2.19% Friday.

Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.66 a gallon. Both were among the biggest percentage gainers on the S&P 500.

South Korea's Kospi index closed 0.4% higher, bouncing back from an earlier drop, as Asian markets overall finished mixed (