Sun, Feb 19, 2017 - Page 14 News List

Wall Street surges to new record highs

GREAT EXPECTATIONS:With a fourth-quarter earnings season mostly complete, investors are looking for signs of progress from the US president on his policy plans

Reuters, NEW YORK

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

Photo: Bloomberg

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday barely reached a seventh straight record high, and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ also closed at a record as gains in Kraft Heinz Food Co helped offset selling in energy stocks.

After suffering losses for most of the session, the Dow and S&P 500 turned positive in the final minutes of a week fueled by the “Trump rally” that has seen stocks surge since the November last year US presidential election.

“Corporate earnings are fine, the economy’s fine, the Fed’s going to raise rates, and that’s great for financials,” LPL Financial chief economic strategist John Canally said.

Kraft Heinz jumped 10.74 percent after it said it would continue to pursue a US$143 billion bid for Unilever PLC, despite being rebuffed. Unilever’s US-listed shares surged 14 percent.

Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with consumer staples adding 0.66 percent, helped by Kraft Heinz as well as a 4.32 percent increase in Colgate-Palmolive Co and a 4.19 percent rise in Kimberly-Clark Corp.

The S&P energy sector fell 0.53 percent as oil prices slipped.

Signs of a strengthening US economy as well as anticipated tax cuts were behind the most recent optimism.

With a strong fourth-quarter earnings season mostly complete, many investors say they need concrete signs of progress from US President Donald Trump on his policy plans.

Uncertainty around other potential Trump policies is an additional risk, some investors said.

“People are focusing on only the good of what his campaign promises were,” CFRA Research investment strategist Lindsey Bell said. “What makes me nervous is that it feels like the market is ignoring what could come on immigration, trade, healthcare — the negative implications that could come from a protectionist government.”

With a long weekend ahead in the US due to the Presidents’ Day holiday tomorrow, trading was a bit lighter than usual.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose a marginal 0.02 percent to end at 20,624.05, while the S&P 500 gained 0.17 percent to 2,351.16. The NASDAQ Composite added 0.41 percent to 5,838.58.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.7 percent, the S&P 500 added 1.5 percent and the NASDAQ gained 1.8 percent.

UnitedHealth Group Inc sank 3.68 percent after it was sued by the US Department of Justice over Medicare charges.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by a 1.15-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 1.26-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 46 new 52-week highs and one new low; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 141 new highs and 24 new lows.

About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges on Friday, below the daily average of 6.8 billion over the past 20 sessions.

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