U.S. equities fluctuate as world stocks hit record, oil climbs

By Katanga Johnson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. stocks pared gains on Tuesday after manufacturing data showed expansion amid rising commodity prices and shortages of materials, while oil rose and global equities hit a record high as markets rode concerns of rising inflation.

The S&P 500 and the Dow rose, with the benchmark S&P 500 within 0.5% of its record high as investors cheered signs of an improving economy ahead of a week packed with major data they hope to cast light on the economic recovery.

The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite traded lower, falling 0.3% after an initial rise.

All three major indexes were trading off from larger gains notched earlier in the session, leaving U.S. stocks mixed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 54.63 points, or 0.16%, to 34,584.08, the S&P 500 lost 1.32 points, or 0.03%, to 4,202.79 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 8.92 points, or 0.06%, to 13,739.82.

Overall, positive sentiment has pushed major indexes back toward all-time highs in recent weeks, analysts say, after data showing a jump in U.S. inflation prompted markets to stutter earlier in May. The S&P 500 closed on Friday before the U.S. Memorial Day holiday at its third highest level in history.

U.S. manufacturing activity picked up in May, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Tuesday as its index of national factory activity increased to a reading of 61.2 last month from 60.7 in April. Pent-up demand amid a reopening economy has boosted orders, but unfinished work has piled up because of shortages of raw materials and labor.

“Markets are letting the macroeconomic data lead the way with Treasury prices lower and yields higher after strong numbers this morning,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer at Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina, adding that news of oil supplies rapidly drawing down, which will lead to higher oil prices, has prompted traders.

“They are interpreting higher yields as a signal to sell technology holdings and buy cyclical companies in the Energy, Materials and Financials sector, which is what they’ve done so far today,” Zaccarelli said.

New U.S. jobs data on Friday should also give a firmer steer on near-term Fed policy action.

In advance of that, MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe rose 2.51 points or 0.35%, to 713.96, marking a new record high, led by broad gains across Europe’s indexes.

Analysts say this is another sign of strong economic growth.


Overnight, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.52% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.16%.

Oil prices, meanwhile, extended gains ahead of an OPEC+ meeting and on optimism that fuel demand will grow in coming months as the U.S. summer driving season gets under way. [O/R] U.S. crude recently rose 3.5% to $68.64 per barrel and Brent was at $71.15, up 2.64% on the day.

This week’s main event is Friday’s U.S. payrolls data, with markets looking for a signal from the Federal Reserve on when it will start tapering its bond-buying program. Median forecasts are that 650,000 jobs were added in May, but the outcome is uncertain following April’s unexpectedly weak 266,000 gain. Though U.S. inflation data last week exceeded estimates, another big miss on the jobs front would delay prospects for any wind-down of stimulus, analysts say.

Societe Generale strategist Sebastien Galy said he expected the jobs data to come in below or in line with consensus, but, given low levels of equity volatility, markets were primed for a jump on higher-than-expected numbers. As traders awaited clues on Fed direction, the dollar index fell 0.012%, with the euro up 0.08% to $1.2235 while the yield on U.S. 10-year government debt last fell 6/32 in price to yield 1.6113%, from 1.593%

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of six currencies, fell 0.247 points or 0.27%, to 89.784.

Concerns about global inflation have driven gold up 8% this month to comfortably above $1,900.

(Reporting by Katanga Johnson in Washington; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Alexander Smith)

U.S. yield curve flattens, world stocks dip; focus on possible December hike

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 8, 2017.

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury yield curve flattened to a two-and-a half month low and key world stock markets fell on Thursday, as investors assessed indications from the U.S. Federal Reserve that it may raise interest rates a third time this year.

The Fed, as expected, also laid out plans to begin the unwinding of a decade of aggressive monetary stimulus, but took a more hawkish than expected stance at this week’s meeting.

“The meeting was definitely more hawkish than what the market was anticipating,” said Mary Ann Hurley, vice president in fixed income trading at D.A. Davidson in Seattle.

“We were definitely not pricing in another rate hike for this year,” Hurley said.

MSCI’s broad index of global stock markets was down 0.3 percent at 486.72.

The U.S. dollar earlier rose to a two-month high against the yen, while an index that measures the dollar’s strength against a basket of currencies dipped.

A Reuters poll late Wednesday of primary dealers, the banks authorized to transact directly with the Fed, showed that the Fed will resume rate hikes in December and raise borrowing costs three more times in 2018.

In Asia, the Bank of Japan kept its monetary spigots open at full.

The Treasury yield curve between five-year notes and 30-year bonds flattened to 92 basis points on Thursday, the lowest level since July 6. Intermediate-dated debt is more sensitive than longer-dated bonds to interest rate increases.

U.S. stocks pulled back from their all-time highs, though bank stocks cheered the prospect of higher interest rates which should help their profits. The S&P bank index was up 0.4 percent, adding to Wednesday’s gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17.83 points, or 0.08 percent, to 22,394.76, the S&;P 500 lost 3.67 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,504.57 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 23.08 points, or 0.36 percent, to 6,432.96.

Emerging markets shares were lower, with an index of emerging markets down 0.3 percent.

S&P Global became the second major rating agency this year to cut China’s credit score, citing worries about the country’s rising debt levels and the risks that posed for financial stability in the world’s second largest economy.FED,

China’s markets were already closed by the time it came but it kept the pressure on emerging markets stocks.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.69 percent lower.

Since the start of 2014, Reuters analysis shows that the big three rating agencies – S&P Global, Moody’s and Fitch – have racked up more than 155 emerging market downgrades between them, which averages out a roughly one a week.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.11 percent versus the greenback at 112.34 per dollar. The dollar index fell 0.29 percent.

Gold fell to its lowest in almost four weeks as investors continued to assess the Fed statement. Spot gold dropped 0.7 percent to $1,291.91 an ounce.

Oil prices were down slightly before a meeting of oil producers that could extend production limits.

U.S. crude fell 0.22 percent to $50.58 per barrel and Brent was last at $55.91, down 0.04 percent on the day.


(Additional reporting by Karen Brettell in New York, Marc Jones in London and Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo; Editing by Bernadette Baum)


Wall St. at record highs on technology, health stocks strength

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 2, 2017.

By Sinead Carew

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting record highs helped by a technology sector rebound and strength in healthcare and financial stocks.

Nasdaq’s biotechnology index rose 2.5 percent and was on track for its biggest one-day gain since February helped by stocks including Biogen Inc and Clovis Oncology while the S&P’s healthcare index  hit a record high.

The S&P technology sector was up 1.4 percent after its second straight weekly decline, which was triggered by fears of stretched valuations. Tech stocks have led the S&P 500’s 9.4 percent rally this year.

“(Technology) valuations are not cheap but it doesn’t seem to be a deterrent for buyers,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia. “Investors were temporarily chased from the space but many companies in the sector offer growth which is difficult to find in the market as a whole.”

Apple rose 3.8 percent to $146.07, providing the biggest boost to technology followed by Microsoft, Alphabet and Facebook.

The financial sector was also one of the benchmark’s strongest gainers with a 0.9 percent rise after New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley, a close ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, said U.S. inflation was a bit low but should rise alongside wages as the labor market continues to improve, allowing the U.S. central bank to continue gradually tightening monetary policy.

Yellen’s confidence as her team raised interest rates for the third time in six months last week surprised investors who had expected more caution about the economy following a set of weak U.S. economic data.

“That was notable in supporting the financial sector which does well under the prospects of better economic conditions and a steeper yield curve,” said Luschini.

The S&P 500 bank subsector was up 1.3 percent

At 2:48 P.M. (1848 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 119.2 points, or 0.56 percent, to 21,503.48, the S&P 500 had gained 16.44 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,449.59 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 74.33 points, or 1.21 percent, to 6,226.08.

Biogen shares were one of the top three S&P percentage gainers with a 3.96 percent rise to $261.71, after it was upgraded to “neutral” from “sell” at UBS, which raise its price target to $270 from $262.

Shares of Clovis Oncology were up 46.9 percent at $88 after late-stage data on its already approved ovarian cancer drug.

The S&P tech sector is trading at about 18.7 times forward earnings, compared with the historical 10-year average of 14.5, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.68-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.92-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 49 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 99 new highs and 87 new lows.

(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal, Chuck Mikolajczak and Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and James Dalgleish)

Wall Street rises with help from technology, financial, energy stocks

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S.,

By Sinead Carew

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq notched record closing highs on Monday, powered by demand for technology stocks after a global cyber attack and by rising oil prices.

Oil rose to the highest level in more than three weeks after top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia said supply cuts needed to last into 2018, a step toward extending an OPEC-led deal to support prices for longer than originally agreed.

The rising oil prices and housing data drove optimism about the economy and helped make financial stocks <.SPSY> the second biggest driver for the S&P 500, behind the technology sector.

“The oil markets are acting well and that’s helping,” said R.J. Grant, head of trading at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in New York, who also cited the strong corporate earnings season.

About 75 percent of S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly results so far have beaten Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

While data for New York state’s manufacturing sector was weaker than expected, U.S. homebuilder sentiment gave investors some confidence in the economy.

“We need that because there’s been a tug-of-war in this market as to whether this economy is peaking,” Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey, said, referring to the housing sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 85.33 points, or 0.41 percent, to the S&P 500 gained 11.42 points, or 0.48 percent, to 2,402.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 28.44 points, or 0.46 percent, to 6,149.67. Johnson & Johnson & and Cisco Systems were the biggest drivers for the S&P 500 after prominent analysts upgraded their ratings on the stocks.

Shares of cyber security firms jumped on expectations that they would benefit from greater spending after the global “ransomware” attack that began spreading across the globe on Friday. Shares of Fireye rose 7.5 percent, and Symantec and Palo Alto Networks  both gained around 3 percent. The 2.3 percent rise in Cisco was driven in party by its security technology business.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors closed higher, with the materials index leading the percentage gainers.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.10-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.04-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 46 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 144 new highs and 53 new lows.

About 6.3 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Monday compared with the 6.8 billion average for the last 20 sessions.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York, Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru,; Editing by Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler)

Dow nears 20,000, Nasdaq hits record as tech stocks rise

A trader works on the trading floor at the opening of the day's trading at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S.,

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) – Wall Street was higher on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average resuming its climb toward 20,000 and the Nasdaq hitting a record as technology and health stocks rose.

The blue-chip index has been riding on a post-election rally, feeding on optimism that President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending would bolster the economy.

The index, which came within 13 points of breaching the elusive 20,000 level last week, marked its seventh straight week of gains on Friday and is on track for its best quarter since 2013.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with technology and healthcare stocks giving the broader index its biggest boost.

The defensive utilities and telecom services were the only losers.

“It is a bit of a catch-up rally today, with leadership today coming from areas such as healthcare and technology – those that have not participated fairly in the rally,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank.

At 11:11 a.m. ET the Dow <.DJI> was up 34.08 points, or 0.17 percent, at 19,967.89, after rising to as much as 19,980.24. The S&P 500 . was up 7.9 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,271.69. The Nasdaq Composite was up 38.74 points, or 0.71 percent, at 5,501.43, easing from its record intraday high of 5,512.36.

Apple was up 0.62 percent at $117.24 and was the top stock on the three main Wall Street indexes.

Amazon.com rose 1.7 percent to $773.33 after the online retailer said it shipped over one billion items to Prime members during the holiday season.

Biogen shares rose 2 percent to $293.28 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved the company’s drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy, the leading genetic cause of death in infants.

Ionis Pharma, which discovered the drug licensed to Biogen, was up 5.5 percent at $56.36.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,959 to 865. On the Nasdaq, 1,853 issues rose and 834 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 20 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 124 new highs and 12 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Wall St. at record highs, Dow tops 19,000 for first time

raders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, NY,

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) – The three main U.S. stock indexes hit records highs for the second straight day on Tuesday, with the Dow topping 19,000 points and the S&P 500 moving past 2,200 points for the first time ever as the Donald Trump-fueled rally continued.

The small cap Russell 2000. RUT index hit an intraday high for the fourth day in a row. The index, along with the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P, closed at record highs on Monday, the first such instance since December 1999.

Trump’s pro-growth policies, including promises of tax cuts, higher spending on infrastructure and simpler regulations in the banking and healthcare industries, have led a rally, especially in those sectors, since the election on Nov. 8.

The consumer discretionary sector’s 0.74 percent increase on Tuesday led the gainers among the 11 major S&P sectors, boosted by strong quarterly reports from Dollar Tree and Signet Jewelers.

The healthcare sector was the only laggard, dropping 0.74 percent, weighed down by Medtronic.

The Dow took 121 days, or about five months, to move to 18,000 points from 17,000 points, but has since crawled along. The index took another 483 days, or roughly two years to breach 19,000 points.

“In itself the numbers don’t mean much, but from a psychological or milestone standpoint it’s a good achievement for the market,” Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments, said of the record-high levels of the indexes.

“Strength begets strength. The more we can continue to rally, the more people who are on the sidelines want to jump in especially because there’s so much cash on the sidelines. The market going up is the single best advertisement for the market.”

At 10:07 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 45.47 points, or 0.24 percent, at 19,002.16, easing after hitting an all-time high of 19,014.73.

The S&P 500 SPX was up 4.2 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,202.38. It hit a high of 2,203.56.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 19.69 points, or 0.37 percent, at 5,388.55, after touching a high of 5,392.26.

Dollar Tree surged 9.5 percent to $89.91 after the biggest U.S. dollar-store chain reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Signet was up 7.5 percent at $95.49 after the jeweler reported a much better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its profit forecast.

Medtronic tumbled 7.5 percent to $74.5 after the medical device maker reported quarterly revenue that missed expectations and cut its full-year adjusted earnings forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,019 to 740. On the Nasdaq, 1,554 issues rose and 930 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 44 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 160 new highs and eight new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan and Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Savio D’Souza)