Markets Right Now: Tech leads stocks to 5th straight gain

16 February, 2018, 06:59 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Jerome Powell

WALL STREET: Major U.S. benchmarks rose for the fourth straight day.

The market started slightly lower Wednesday but turned higher within the first hour of trading and kept going.

The CBOE Volatility index, also known as Wall Street's "fear gauge", rose to 19.57 points, but was well below the 50 point-mark it touched last week.

ANALYST TAKEAWAY: "Having just gone through the roller coaster of equity sell-off induced by bond yield rises, I am frankly at a loss to explain what is now happening now", said Rob Carnell, chief Asia economist at ING.

Apple and Cisco were among the big winners in tech, while industrial companies including Boeing also rose. The S&P 500 energy index was down almost 2 percent.

Department store sales rose a solid 0.8 percent while a broader category that includes big box retail stores such as Walmart, rose a smaller 0.2 percent.

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The Nasdaq composite advanced 107.47 points, or 1.6 percent, to 6,981.96. "The year-over-year rate on the core is still below 2 percent". "This makes sense because interest rates may not drive equities but both can rise concurrently from the environment that lifts them". The index rose 1.5 percent Friday but still wound up with its worst weekly loss in more than two years.

Bond yields rose after the government said consumer prices climbed in January at a rate that was faster than economists had expected. That was a significant improvement from modest annual growth rates of around 2 percent the USA experienced during the economic recovery, now in its ninth year.

By 11:03 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 percent to 24,664.07.

The January decline, following no change in December, was the largest setback since a 0.5 percent fall in February of a year ago, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. The number has increased to four or five but as long as the real economy looks strong, the stock market is likely to cope with a bit more inflation.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.87 percent, up from 2.82 percent shortly before the report came out.

Wall Street's recent pullback wiped out all of January's gains for the benchmark S&P 500, which is now down about 0.5 percent for the year.

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Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2 percent and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.9 percent.

USA equities opened lower on Wednesday following the release of stronger-than-expected inflation report. The major index futures are now pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 206 points. And the chart above of the S&P 500 index graphically shows that hot economy and corporate sector. France's CAC 40 was up 0.2 percent to 5,120, while Germany's DAX shed 0.3 percent to 12,152.

Traders largely shrugged off a report from the Commerce Department showing wholesale inventories increased by more than expected in the month of December.

Stocks climbed on Thursday after Wall Street ignored strong U.S. inflation data. The data rekindled fears that the Federal Reserve would feel compelled to act aggressively to tamp down rising prices by hiking rates at a rapid clip in 2018.

USA stock futures sank after the government reported the highest increase in consumer prices in a year and a significant decline in retail sales for January.

The Dow Jones industrials were indicated to open with a drop of about 320 points.

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