Nvidia is leading the tech sector’s charge on Friday.
U.S. stock benchmarks carved out another round of intraday records on Friday with a big assist from rallying technology shares, as Wall Street shook off North Korea’s latest missile launch.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.20% rose 49 points, to 0.2%, at 22,253. The blue-chip average hit a record intraday record at 22,258.84, and if it closes higher on Friday, it will mark its fourth straight record close.
The S&P 500 SPX, +0.06% was up about 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,498, in relatively subdued trade but enough to take the broad-market index to an all-time high. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.26% was up 24 points, or 0.4%, to 6,453, hitting a intraday record at 6,464.27.
Stocks initially struggled for direction as investors weighed North Korea decision to fire a missile over Japan for the second time in a month, but soon found a footing.
“Investors have been programmed to more or less ignore stuff with Korea. The last two or three times this kind of thing occurred we went down a little, only to turn back higher. We’ve learned to buy on the dips,” said Terry Morris, senior vice president and senior equity manager for National Penn Investors Trust Company.
For the week, the Dow is up roughly 2%, the S&P is up 1.5% and the Nasdaq added 1.5%. All three are on track for their third positive week of the past four.
The outsize move in the Nasdaq was due to the technology sector, which climbed 0.4% thanks to strength in semiconductor stocks. Nvidia Corp NVDA, +5.77% gained 6% after Evercore ISI raised its price target on the company to $250 from $180. Advanced Micro Devices AMD, +2.24% was up 2.7%. Both were among the biggest percentage gainers on the S&P 500. The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF SOXX, +1.65% rose 1.8% in its fifth straight daily advance, putting the fund on track for its biggest weekly gain since July.
Gold futures GCZ7, -0.16% —which tend to draw buyers in times of geopolitical tension—were slightly lower after an earlier gain faded. The precious metal had climbed to around $1,338 an ounce following North Korea’s latest move.
The geopolitical tension comes at a time when investors have become concerned about valuations and there are questions about the pace of economic growth. The latest economic data failed to provide much clarity on the state of the economy. U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in August, dropping 0.2% in their second decline of the past three months. Separately, the Empire State factory gauge hit 24.4 in September, down slightly.
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U.S. industrial output fell 0.9% in August, its first drop in seven months. The Federal Reserve said the decline was mostly due to the recent impact of Hurricane Harvey. The storm also had an impact on consumer sentiment, which fell slightly in August.
“Valuations are stretched, but I don’t believe we’re in bubble territory. The market can go a lot higher,” Morris said. “Recent data has been mixed, but given the storms it’s hard to read too much into it.”
Meanwhile, volatility may pick up later in the session as Friday coincides with “quadruple witching day” when stock-index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single-stock futures expire.
“Witching isn’t as big a deal as it used to be,” J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, said in a note. But investors should still be cautious as “things may happen that don’t necessarily make sense as positions get unwound.”
Other markets: Oil futures CLV7, -0.34% were lower but remained on track for a weekly gain of about 5%. European stocks SXXP, -0.28% were down across the board while the pound GBPUSD, +1.2763% hit a fresh 2017 high against the buck, trading above the $1.36 mark following another hawkish signal from the Bank of England. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.27% lost ground, but still was up for the week.
—Victor Reklaitis contributed to this article.