VOL. 41 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 10, 2017
Global stocks continue to rise, US indexes hit records again
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks around the world continued their march higher on Monday, and U.S. indexes again hit new highs.
Strong gains for Citigroup and other financial stocks helped the Standard & Poor's 500 index rise 12.15 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,328.25. It's the third straight day the index has set a record. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 142.79, or 0.7 percent, to 20,412.16. The Nasdaq composite climbed 29.83, or 0.5 percent, to 5,763.96. Earlier in the day, markets rose across Europe and Asia.
Stocks have resumed their rally in recent days after stalling for a couple weeks. Stronger-than-expected profit reports from companies, continued improvement in the U.S. economy and expectations for business-friendly policies from Washington have helped propel the market. With no major economic reports or other big news on Monday, stocks continued to follow the path of least resistance, analysts say.
"The market's got such good momentum now that it's going to continue until something slows it down," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. "There's really not any negative catalyst right now."
The S&P 500 has climbed five straight days and is up 8.8 percent since Donald Trump won the White House in November.
Companies whose profits are most dependent on the strength of the economy were some of Monday's biggest gainers. Financial stocks in the S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent, the biggest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Industrials rose 1 percent. Roughly three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
The biggest stock in the S&P 500, Apple, is also at a record closing high. It rose $1.17, or 0.9 percent, to close at $133.29. The iPhone maker's performance carries extra weight for many 401(k) accounts because of its status as the biggest publicly traded company in the world. It alone accounts for about 3.5 percent of S&P 500 index fund investments.
Chemical company Chemours jumped $4.01, or 14.3 percent, to $32.14 after it announced an agreement with DuPont to jointly pay $670.7 million to settle roughly 3,500 personal-injury claims related to the release of perfluorooctanoic acid from a West Virginia plant. DuPont rose 99 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $77.82.
Zeltiq Aesthetics jumped $6.53, or 13.2 percent, to $55.93 after Allergan said it would buy the company, whose CoolSculpting system helps people reduce bulges of fat. Allergan, which sells Botox, agreed to pay $56.50 per share for Zeltiq.
The only sector in the S&P 500 to fall on Monday was telecoms, which sank on worries that more pricing wars may be on the way.
Verizon unveiled an unlimited-data plan for its customers, and its stock dropped 43 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $48.55. Competitors fell more. AT&T lost 73 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $40.65, and Sprint fell 12 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $8.84.
Several events are on the schedule that could shift the market's momentum. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will offer testimony on Capitol Hill Tuesday and Wednesday to update the Senate and House on monetary policy. Most investors expect the central bank to keep raising interest rates in 2017, though at a modest pace.
The government will also offer updates on the state of inflation, on both the consumer and the wholesale levels. Many investors expect inflation to rise due to policies proposed by President Trump and Congressional Republicans, though the bond market doesn't seem to be forecasting a runaway spike.
Treasury yields have been on an upward trend since Election Day, in part because of those expectations for higher inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.43 percent Monday from 2.41 percent late Friday. Two-year and 30-year Treasury yields also notched higher.
Stocks climbed in other markets around the world. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4 percent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.6 percent and South Korea's Kospi index added 0.2 percent. In Europe, the French CAC 40 index jumped 1.2 percent, Germany's DAX climbed 0.9 percent and the U.K. FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 93 cents, or 1.7 percent, to settle at $52.93 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell $1.11, or 2.percent, to $55.59 a barrel.
Natural gas fell 9 cents, or 3 percent, to $2.94 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $1.54 a gallon and heating oil lost 4 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $1.63 a gallon.
In metals trading, gold fell $10.10 to settle at $1,225.80 an ounce. Silver lost 11 cents to $17.82 an ounce. Copper added 1.5 cents to $2.78 a pound.
The dollar rose to 113.62 Japanese yen from 113.41 yen late Friday, and the British pound rose to $1.2529 from $1.2479.