Stocks

S&P 500, Dow end at record highs despite caution; oil falls

Reuters New York | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on July 14, 2016

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The S&P 500 and Dow US stock indexes ended at fresh record highs on Wednesday even as a rally in US and European shares lost much of its steam on a plunge in oil prices and caution ahead of corporate results.

The S&P 500 ended at 2,152.43, a hair above Tuesday's close of 2.142.14, to notch its third consecutive record close. The Dow ended at 18,372.12, topping Tuesday's close of 18,347.67 to mark its second straight record close.

In percentage terms, the S&P 500 ended nearly flat and the Dow was only slightly higher after a more than 4 per cent plunge in oil prices hurt energy shares and investors awaited second-quarter corporate earnings. European shares dipped after four straight days of gains.

The S&P energy index ended down 0.71 per cent and the STOXX Europe 600 Oil & Gas index ended 1 per cent lower. The US government stunned the market with bearish oil inventory data that added to renewed concerns over a global glut.

The benchmark S&P 500 hit 2,156.45 earlier on Wednesday, topping Tuesday's intraday record of 2,155.40, while the Dow hit 18,390.16 to top Tuesday's record intraday peak, the third straight day of such peaks for the S&P and the second for the Dow.

Shares have advanced partly on the view that the US economy is on solid footing and on the expectation that central banks in most developed economies will continue to keep interest rates at rock-bottom levels. Reduced political uncertainty in Britain and Japan have also buoyed shares.

“Investors would rather see some concrete news as far as earnings and results before putting their money in at these levels,” said Alan Lancz, president of investment advisory firm Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc in Toledo, Ohio.

MSCI's all-country world equity index was last up 0.91 point, or 0.22 per cent, at 409.3.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 24.45 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 18,372.12. The S&P 500 closed up 0.29 point, or 0.01 per cent, at 2,152.43. The Nasdaq Composite ended down 17.09 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 5,005.73.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.31 per cent lower at 1,326.30.

Brent crude settled down $2.21, or 4.56 per cent, at $46.26 a barrel. US crude settled down $2.05, or 4.38 per cent, at $44.75.

“A surprising build in gasoline in the peak of the US driving season and a very large build in heating oil will set the tone for lower prices,” said Tariq Zahir, a trader in crude oil spreads at Tyche Capital Advisors in New York.

Safe-haven assets such as US Treasuries, gold, and the Japanese yen rebounded after falling Tuesday. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were last at 1.473 per cent after hitting a 1-1/2-week high of 1.531 percent on Tuesday as higher yields attracted buyers.

The dollar was last down 0.27 per cent at 104.41 yen, while spot gold recovered slightly from its lowest in nearly two weeks.

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Published on July 14, 2016
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