Wall Street gains, S&P 500 on track for sixth straight record closing high

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street advanced on Friday pushed higher by technology stocks, with the S&P 500 on track for its sixth record closing high since confirming a bull market on Aug. 18.

The gains also put the Nasdaq on a course for an all-time closing high and pushed the blue-chip Dow into positive territory for the year.

The S&P 500 is close to wrapping up what appears to be its best August in 34 years.

All three major U.S. stock indexes looked set to end the week higher than last Friday’s close, marking the fifth consecutive weekly gains for the S&P and the Nasdaq.

“Tech continues to lead but again we’re encouraged that the Dow is now green for the year, so other areas are starting to come back, trying to catch up,” Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina. “But tech is still the true champ.”

“It’s an uneven, K-shaped recovery,” Detrick added. “It shows how divided the economy is, and the companies that can succeed in this environment are gaining.”

Economic data released before the bell showed American consumers, who account for about 70% of the U.S. economy, increased their spending more than expected in July but the savings rate, a barometer of consumer uncertainty, remained elevated well above pre-pandemic levels.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) core index, which excludes food and energy, rose at a rate of 1.3% year-on-year. On Thursday, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell unveiled a new monetary strategy adopting an average annual inflation target of 2%, implying the central bank could keep key interest rates near zero even if inflation rises above its target.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90.71 points, or 0.32%, to 28,582.98, the S&P 500 gained 10.47 points, or 0.30%, to 3,495.02 and the Nasdaq Composite added 46.06 points, or 0.4%, to 11,671.40.

Energy stocks had the largest percentage gain among the major S&P sectors, rising 1.3% after Hurricane Laura passed through the Gulf region without causing widespread damage and oil rigs and refineries began to restart operations.

United Airlines and Coca-Cola Co rose 2.5% and 2.3%, respectively as they prepared for cost-cutting efforts including furloughs and voluntary separations.

But tech companies continue to benefit from companies shifting to a work-from-home model.

Business software company Workday Inc jumped 14.5% after raising its annual subscription forecast and Dell Technologies Inc rose 6.2% following its quarterly profit beat.

Walmart Inc announced it was joining Microsoft Corp in its bid for TikTok’s U.S. assets from Chinese owner ByteDance.

Shares of Walmart and Microsoft were up 2.4% and 0.5%, respectively.

Related Coverage

  • Take Five: Sayonara Abenomics?

Nutanix Inc jumped 29.1% after the cloud service provider beat earnings expectations and Bain Capital invested about $750 million in the company.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.79-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.41-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 69 new highs and 14 new lows.

Source: Read Full Article