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Markets Right Now: Stock indexes open higher on Wall Street

15 February 2018, 07:59 | Melvin Schneider

Markets Right Now: Stock indexes open higher on Wall Street

Markets Right Now: Stock indexes open higher on Wall Street

But it hurt high-dividend companies like utility and phone companies. All of that helped stocks build on the market's gains from late Friday. Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group, said he thinks stocks and bonds will fall further as investors consider the likelihood that interest rates will keep rising and inflation will increase.

But those inflation concerns were tempered by data showing United States retail sales fell 0.3 per cent last month, the biggest decline in almost a year and in sharp contrast to economists' estimates for a 0.2 per cent increase.

"The catalyst behind this bull market up until maybe the past year or so has just been the ability of this economy to grow, even if it's very sluggishly (.) without creating any negative consequences for the financial markets", he said. "Meanwhile, retail sales results have caused a downgrade of GDP estimates across the Street". Goldman Sachs contributed the most to the gains, rising 2.8 percent. The Nasdaq composite increased 31 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,013.

It took just nine days for stocks to plunge 10 percent from their latest peak, which was reached on January 26.

After a wildly volatile week that pushed the market into correction territory, U. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares except Japan climbed 1.3 percent.

With the markets set to open in 45 minutes' time, the S&P 500 was expected to open at around 2,637 and the Dow Jones average at around 24,420.

The CBOE Volatility index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, was last at 23.52 points. That includes several drops that were far larger than anything the market endured past year.

Fourth quarter net income of US$133.6mln was up from US$101.1mln a year earlier; earnings per share (EPS) rose to 62 cents from 47 cents the year before and were six cents higher than the market had been expecting. Chipmakers Broadcom and Qualcomm each climbed after CNBC reported that the companies will meet this week to discuss Broadcom's $121 billion offer to buy Qualcomm.

Investors have pointed to other reasons why stocks were higher.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 9 cents to $59.29 a barrel in NY. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, fell 62 cents to $62.10 a barrel in London.

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Oil prices have dropped since reaching long-time highs in late January, when US crude peaked at $66 a barrel.

Since Thursday, the S&P 500 has surged 4.5 per cent, its strongest four-session performance since mid-2016. The Trump administration has been pushing defense spending aggressively higher.

The Federal Reserve has an inflation target of 2 percent. "But frankly, the path of least resistance is still up and fundamentals haven't really changed".

The booming internet shopping sector was flat in January, but is still 10.2 percent higher than a year ago.

"Energy prices were expected to increase, but the rise of 3.0% was firmer than the 1.8% we expected". Heating oil rose 5 cents to $1.88 a gallon.

Technology shares were another strong segment, with Apple climbing 1.8 per cent, Amazon 2.6 per cent, Facebook 3.7 per cent and Netflix 3.0 per cent.

The dollar rose to 108.67 yen from 108.53 yen. The euro dipped to $1.2435 from $1.2355. Under Amour jumped 15 percent. The Dow Jones Small-Cap Value TSM Index closed at 9,913.41 for a gain of 149.91 points or 1.54%.

The DAX in Germany rose 1.2 percent and the French CAC 40 added 1.1 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.2 percent and Seoul's Kospi rose 0.9 percent. Trading was winding down in China ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.



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