S&P 500 closes near record high as earnings season begins in earnest

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks closed near record highs on Friday after the largest U.S. bank, JPMorgan Chase Co, soothed worries that the first-quarter earnings season would dampen Wall Street’s big rally back from last year’s slump.

The S&P 500 is now within a percent of September’s record closing high, and the S&P 500 Total Return Index, which includes reinvested dividends, in fact regained record levels, recovering ground lost after a punishing sell-off in the closing months of the year which brought the benchmark index within a rounding error of bear market territory.

Since then, the three major indexes notched their best quarterly gains in nearly a decade in the first quarter, but have spent April in a holding pattern ahead of first-quarter earnings season.

JPMorgan, effectively jump-starting the quarterly earnings reporting season that will dominate investor sentiment in coming weeks, blew past analyst estimates, easing fears that slowing economic growth could weigh on its results. Its stock rose 4.7% and led a broad rally in bank stocks.

“JPMorgan earnings are important because their operation touches on a wide portion of the economy,” said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York. “It’s a bellwether for other corporate earnings.”

Analyst now expect S&P 500 companies to show a 2.3% year-on-year decline in earnings, slightly improved from their last reading, per Refinitiv data. But first-quarter profit is still seen logging its first annual contraction since 2016.

However, of the 29 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported thus far, 79.3% have come in above analyst expectations.

Walt Disney Co jumped 11.5% to an all-time high, providing the biggest boost to the Dow and the S&P 500 after pricing its upcoming streaming service.

Streaming rival Netflix Inc slid 4.5%.

The Nasdaq and the Dow are both about 1.5% below their previous record highs.

For the week, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq showed their third straight gains, while the Dow posted a nominal weekly loss.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 269.25 points, or 1.03%, to 26,412.3, the S&P 500 gained 19.09 points, or 0.66%, to 2,907.41 and the Nasdaq Composite added 36.81 points, or 0.46%, to 7,984.16.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but healthcare ended the session in positive territory.

Financials were the largest percentage gainer, rising 1.9% on the back of JPMorgan Chase earnings.

Healthcare stocks extended their slide, with UnitedHealth Group down 5.2%, Anthem Inc dropping 8.5% and Humana Inc off 2.8%. The S&P 500 Healthcare index slipped 1.0%.

In the largest energy deal since 2016, Chevron Corp said it would buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp for $33 billion in cash and stock.

Chevron’s stock dipped by 4.9% following the announcement, while Anadarko shot up 32.0%.

Boeing Co rose 2.6% as the plane maker’s stock recovered ground following its recent sell-off.

The CBOE Volatility Index – Wall Street’s so-called “fear gauge” slipped to a fresh six-month low on Friday, in a sign investors expect the good times to keep rolling.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.86-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 60 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 95 new highs and 38 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.75 billion shares, compared to the 6.97 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Saqib Ahmed; Editing by Susan Thoma)

Two years in, Trump holds stock market bragging rights

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on the eve of the U.S. mid-term elections at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  

By Noel Randewich

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has taken credit for the stock market’s gains during his nearly two years in the White House, and those claims are reasonable given the impact of tax cuts and pro-business policies on investor sentiment.

The S&P 500 has risen 28 percent since Trump’s election in November 2016 to the eve of congressional midterm elections on Tuesday. This surpasses the market’s performance over the same time frame under any other president in the past 64 years. Under President Dwight Eisenhower, the S&P 500 rose 29 percent from his election in November 1952 through November 1954.

Sweeping corporate tax cuts, an initiative driven by Trump, supercharged U.S. companies’ earnings and helped lift the cash-rich technology sector. The Republican party last year passed the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in over 30 years, boosting U.S. corporate earnings.

Still, other sectors that could have been expected to benefit strongly from a Trump presidency have lagged. Indeed, the individual stocks that have gained and lost the most during his reign have little discernable link to Trump’s presidency.

How the market shakes out in the final two years of Trump’s presidency will probably be influenced by Tuesday’s elections. Analysts expect pressure on stocks if Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives and a sharper downward reaction if they sweep the House and Senate.

On the contrary, if Republicans hold their ground, stocks could gain further, with hopes of more tax reform ahead.

Trump’s strong stock market record has been maintained even after a recent pullback on Wall Street as worries about trade battles, inflation, and rising interest rates have increased caution among investors. Starting in 2010 under President Barack Obama as the world recovered from the financial crisis, the S&P 500 has enjoyed its longest bull market in history.

With more than half of Trump’s presidency still to come, how the market will perform over his whole term is unknown. Democratic President Bill Clinton saw the S&P 500 triple during his two terms in the White House.

Average S&P 500 company earnings per share are on track to rise 24 percent this year, the strongest annual gain in eight years, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Investor confidence stemming from the tax cuts and Trump’s other business-friendly policies so far have more than made up for ongoing worries on Wall Street that his trade conflict with China is hurting the U.S. economy, and that it could become worse.

The tax cuts also led Apple and other multinationals in the technology sector to repatriate billions of dollars in profits held overseas, some of which went toward buying back stock and sending Wall Street higher.

The S&P 500 information technology index has gained 51 percent since Trump’s election. Financials, which benefited from Trump’s deregulation of the banking industry, have climbed 34 percent since Nov 8, 2016.

Still, some companies that had been expected to boom under Trump have fared poorly. The S&P 500 energy index is flat since Trump’s election, even though crude prices rose over 50 percent during that time and despite Trump putting the brakes on Obama-era policies aimed at reducing the country’s reliance on oil.

Semiconductors have fared better than any other industry group, even though they are highly exposed to China and could become casualties in Trump’s trade war with Beijing.

Along with telecommunications, food and tobacco companies, automakers on average have fared worst among 27 industry group’s since Trump’s election. General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co have been wrestling for years with tepid global demand, with recent signs of a deep slowdown in China.

Industry groups are more detailed categories than the 11 sectors widely tracked on the stock market.

Interest rates, economic growth, company earnings and inflation are widely viewed as strong influences on stock prices, making who holds power in Washington just one of many factors affecting investor sentiment.

Abiomed Inc, the S&P 500’s top performer since Trump’s election, has jumped over 260 percent, helped in part by the success of its Impella heart pumps.

General Electric’s 68 percent loss makes it the S&P 500’s worst performer since Trump was elected. The former industrial powerhouse has foundered in several key markets in recent years and is aggressively cutting costs and selling businesses.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Megan Davies and Cynthia Osterman)

Wall Street opens lower amid Russia probe, Fed pick

Morning commuters are seen outside the New York Stock Exchange, July 30, 2012.

By Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – Wall Street opened lower on Monday, pulling back from a strong rally last week, as investors assessed the fallout of the first charges in connection with a probe into possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for Trump, surrendered to federal authorities in connection with the investigation, according to reports.

“The market could be awakening to the fact that the political situation is coming back into focus … that could cap the market from moving higher,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

The ongoing investigation and its outcome could distract the administration from its efforts to overhaul the tax system and push through other policies, analysts have said.

Investors also awaited the announcement on the nomination of the new Federal Reserve chief, expected later this week. Trump is leaning toward nominating Fed Governor Jerome Powell, considered a moderate, to be the next Fed chair, sources told Reuters.

“This is a very heavy week in terms of macro news. While earnings continue to pour in, majority of the market is now going to focus on the Fed,” Cardillo said.

A Commerce Department report showed consumer spending recorded its biggest increase in more than eight years in September, but underlying inflation remained muted.

With the third-quarter earnings season more than half-way through, nearly 74 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far have topped profit expectations, compared with 72 percent overall the past four quarters.

Blockbuster tech earnings last week powered Nasdaq to its best day in nearly a year. Apple and Facebook are among the top tech companies reporting this week.

At 9:55 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 40.68 points, or 0.17 percent, at 23,393.51, and the S&P 500 was down 3.61 points, or 0.139864 percent, at 2,577.46.

The Nasdaq Composite, however, was up 13.63 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,714.89, helped by Apple and Facebook.

Apple rose 1.8 percent as GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives raised his pre-order demand expectations for the iPhone X to 50 million units from 40 million.

Seven of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, led by losses in healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks.

General Motors dipped 3.7 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company’s stock to “sell” from “neutral”.

Merck slipped 5.2 percent after the company said it withdrew an application for European use of its Keytruda cancer immunotherapy.

Advanced Micro Devices fell 4.8 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to “underweight” from “equalweight”.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,417 to 1,226. On the Nasdaq, 1,424 issues fell and 1,071 advanced.

 

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

 

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)

U.S. stocks open higher after strong private jobs data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., May 31, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan

By Sweta Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were higher on Thursday after better-than-expected private sector hiring showed that the labor market continues to strengthen, further boosting chances of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve later this month.

The ADP private sector employment report showed that 253,000 jobs were added in May, well above the 185,000 jobs estimated by economists polled by Reuters.

The report by payrolls processor ADP acts as a precursor to the much-awaited nonfarm payrolls data, due on Friday, that includes hiring in both the public and private sectors.

“I think the Fed has already made up its mind. Unless we have a real weak employment data tomorrow I think it’s a go-ahead for the Fed to raise rates in June,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said on Wednesday he sees a total of three interest rate increases for this year as his baseline scenario, but views four hikes as also being appropriate if the U.S. economy gets an unexpected boost.

Forecasts from Fed officials suggest that a median of two more hikes are planned before the end of the year.

Traders priced in an 89 percent chance of a rate hike in the upcoming Fed meeting on June 14, according to Thomson Reuters data.

At 9:52 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 21.5 points, or 0.1 percent, at 21,030.15, the S&P 500 was up 6.16 points, or 0.25 percent, at 2,417.96 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 26.51 points, or 0.43 percent, at 6,225.03.    Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with the health and technology sectors leading the gainers.

The Institute for Supply Management is likely to report that its national manufacturing index slipped to 54.5 in May from 54.8 in April. The data is expected at 10:00 ET.

“We have a multitude of macro news coming out today and that will set the tone for the market’s direction … I think we are looking at another trying session,” Cardillo said.

Deere’s shares were up 1.9 percent at $124.74 after the farm and construction major said it would buy privately held German road construction company Wirtgen Group for $5.2 billion, including debt.

Goodyear Tire’s shares were up 5.7 percent at $34.03 after Morgan Stanley raised its rating to “overweight” from “underweight”.

Box Inc was up 3.9 percent at $19.40 after the cloud storage firm’s quarterly earnings edged ahead of Wall Street analysts’ expectations.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,931 to 657. On the Nasdaq, 1,707 issues rose and 624 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 28 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 82 new highs and 70 new lows.

(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Anil D’Silva)

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)

Wall St. opens higher as banks, discretionary stocks rise

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 28, 201

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, extending gains into the second trading day of the new year, helped by advances in consumer discretionary and bank stocks.

Investors are awaiting the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s Dec. 13-14 meeting in which it raised interest rates. The minutes are due to be released at 2:00 p.m. ET.

The central bank had cited strength in the labor market and a slight uptick in inflation among reasons for its move. Investors will pore over the minutes to assess policymakers’ view on the economy and the incoming administration.

With just over two weeks left before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, investors are waiting for the finer details of his proposed policies such as tax cuts and higher fiscal spending.

The S&P 500 financial sector rose 0.5 percent and provided the biggest boost to the broader index. Big U.S. banks are set on getting Congress loosen some banking regulations, seeing an opportunity in the incoming Republican-led administration.

The consumer discretionary index got a lift from Comcast, which rose 1 percent after Macquarie raised its price target to $76.

At 9:45 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 37.61 points, or 0.19 percent, at 19,919.37, the S&P 500 was up 7.36 points, or 0.32 percent, at 2,265.19 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 21.93 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,451.02.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by gains in healthcare and utilities.

Shares of General Motors and Ford were up more than 3 percent after the automakers posted strong U.S. sales for December.

Agile Therapeutics lost 58 percent of its value in heavy trading and is set to open at a record low after the company provided an update on its contraceptive patch trial.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,196 to 528. On the Nasdaq, 1,771 issues rose and 614 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 10 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 45 new highs and three new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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)

Wall Street Begins Year Sharply Lower After China Selloff

By Caroline Valetkevitch

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks began 2016 sharply lower on Monday, with the Dow marking its worst start to a year since 2008, after weak Chinese economic data fanned fears of a global slowdown.

Indexes partly recovered late in the session, following a turnaround in oil prices that caused energy shares to cut losses. At its low for the day, the Dow was down 467 points and was headed for its worst first-day percentage drop since 1932.

Surveys showed factory activity in the world’s second-largest economy shrank sharply in December, sparking a 7-percent slide in Chinese shares that triggered a trading halt. Adding to investors’ worries, China’s central bank fixed the yuan at a 4-1/2 year low, further weakening it against the dollar.

U.S. data sparked further concern as factory activity weakened unexpectedly in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

“There was the turmoil overnight overseas that kind of set the tone … (but) all of the negatives out there have been out there for a while,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

“The fact that we closed down on the year, the Fed tightened, it crystallized in investors’ minds that we’re not in the environment we were in throughout most of the recovery.”

The selloff was widespread but not as deep as the slide caused by worries of a China-led global slowdown in August, when the Dow tumbled more than 1,000 points at one point.

Nasdaq led the day’s decline and Amazon <AMZN.O>, down 5.8 percent at $636.99, weighed the most on the S&amp;P 500 and Nasdaq, while the Nasdaq Biotech Index <NBI> dropped 3.2 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <DJI> closed down 276.09 points, or 1.58 percent, to 17,148.94, the S&amp;P 500 <SPX> lost 31.28 points, or 1.53 percent, to 2,012.66 and the Nasdaq Composite <IXIC> dropped 104.32 points, or 2.08 percent, to 4,903.09.

Both the S&amp;P 500 and the Nasdaq had their worst starts to a year since 2001.

All 10 S&P sectors ended lower, but the energy index <SPNY> was down the least, with a loss of just 0.2 percent.

Crude oil ended a volatile session down slightly following concern about Middle East tensions, but Brent turned higher late.

Tesla <TSLA.O> fell 6.9 percent to $223.41. The electric car maker delivered 17,400 vehicles in the fourth quarter, just above the low end of its guidance.

About 8.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 7.2 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,127 to 977, for a 2.18-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 2,202 issues fell and 652 advanced for a 3.38-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 1 new 52-week highs and 14 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 113 new lows.

(Additional reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Nick Zieminski)