Stock market trades in record territory as sentiment touches 13-year high – MarketWatch

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The Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq climbed, hitting fresh all-time highs in intraday trade Friday, after a pair of economic reports came in slightly weaker than expected, but a reading of consumer sentiment hit its highest level in 13 years.

Read: The S&P 500 is poised to make stock-market history—for doing almost nothing

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.18%  picked up 40 points, or 0.2%, to 22,879, after setting an intraday all-time high at 22,905.33, powered by sharp gains in American Express Co. AXP, +1.05%  and Procter & Gamble Co. PG, +1.14%

The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.20% gained 5 points, or 0.2%, at 2,556, after setting an intraday record at 2,557.69. The broad-market index saw its sharpest sector gains in technology and materials, both up at least 0.6%. Meanwhile,the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.32%  climbed 20 points, or 0.3%, at 6,611. The technology-laden index earlier logged an intraday record at 6,614.65.

All three indexes closed lower on Thursday The Dow industrials ended down 0.1%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both lost 0.2%.

For the week, gains appeared modest for all three benchmarks as of the close Thursday. The Dow industrials was headed for a 0.4% rise, while the S&P 500 teetered around a 0.1% increase. Both have risen for five straight weeks. The Nasdaq was looking at 0.2% weekly gain, marking a third consecutively weekly win.

Thus far in 2017, the Dow has gained nearly 16%, the S&P is up 14.1%, and the Nasdaq has risen 23%.

See: Howard Gold on 5 things to do when every investment is too expensive

What is driving markets?

The consumer-price index rose 0.5% in September, the second increase in a row and the largest in eight months. However, economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.6%. Stripping out volatile food and energy costs, core CPI rose at a much smaller 0.1% rate.

Inflation readings are weighed for their likely influence whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.

A reading on retail sales showed a rise of 1.6% in September, reflecting the largest increase in 2½ years, coming in line with Wall Street expectations.

The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of the consumer-sentiment index for October came in at 101.1, marking its highest level since 2004.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration said late Thursday it will end billions of dollars in subsidies to insurers under the Affordable Care Act program. The White House said the government can’t lawfully make the payments as there is no appropriation for them.

Read: How to invest in health-care stocks regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C.

Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar

Which Fed speakers are ahead?

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans was set to give a speech on the economy, appearing at a financial literacy event in Green Bay, Wis.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan is expected to take part in a moderated discussion at 11:30 a.m. Eastern, at the CFA Institute’s 2017 fixed-income management conference in Boston.

What are strategists saying?

“There’s no reason to sell. Just sit and watch your stuff go up and that’s why trading volumes are low,” said Randy Frederick, managing director at Schwab Center for Financial Research, referring to measures of volatility, notably the CBOE Volatility Index VIX, -4.04% hanging around historic lows below 10 as stocks test records.

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, said the weaker than expected inflation reports, reinforce the view that the Fed will take a more measured approach in tightening monetary policy, even if the central bank appears committed to hiking rates in December. “The weaker than expected inflation results set the stage for some risk taking,” he said. “As long as we have reasonable economic growth with low inflation than the path of least resistance is higher,” he continued.

Which stocks look like key movers?

Bank of America Corp. BAC, +0.96%  shares slipped 1.7% after the lender posted a rise in third-quarter profit.

Wells Fargo & Co. WFC, -3.12% shares declined 2.7% in trade, after it reported third-quarter earnings that were weaker than expected, with a profit of $4.6 billion, or 84 cents a share, including a charge of $1 billion to settle a mortgage-linked probe, compared with profit of $5.6 billion at the same period last year.

Check out: Bank stocks are soaring, but now it’s time to go for quality

And see: Third-quarter earnings seen as ‘an easy beat,’ may bring more market records

Shares of Applied Optoelectronics Inc. AAOI, -20.62%  fell 21% in trade. The fiber-optic networking company warned investors about lower-than-expected third-quarter profit and revenue late Thursday.

Antares Pharma Inc. ATRS, -38.61%  shares sank 39%, after the company’s announcement Thursday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had found deficiencies in the drug Xyosted (testosterone enanthate) during its review process.

Monsanto Co. MON, +2.01%  shares moved 2% higher after Bayer AG said it has reached a $7 billion deal to sell parts of its crop-science business to rival BASF SE.

What are other assets doing?

Bitcoin BTCUSD, +8.32%  recently traded at $5,702, after climbing as high as $5,856 earlier Friday, according to CoinDesk data. The cryptocurrency began setting new records after jumping on Thursday.

Check out: 5 reasons bitcoin has roared to its highest level ever, defying Dimon’s ‘fraud’ call

European stocks SXXP, +0.29% were modestly higher, while most Asian markets closed with gains, with Japan’s Nikkei benchmark NIK, +0.96% rising 1%.

Gold futures GCZ7, +0.46%  rose to above $1,300 an ounce, after trading flat earlier in the day, while oil futures CLX7, +1.48%  jumped 1.7% to trade above $51 a barrel.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.10% was off 0.3%, after slipping 0.1% on Thursday. The gauge was on track for its first weekly fall in five weeks.

—Karen Friar in London contributed to this article.