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While you were sleeping: Wall St climbs to fresh records

Wednesday 13th September 2017

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Wall Street gained, sending the S&P 500 to a record high, as investors recovered confidence in the outlook for the US economy and corporate profits. 

“It’s a better environment for risk assets. As long as these two issues—North Korea and the hurricane—have receded as concerns it gives investors a green light to focus on stronger fundamentals,” David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial in Boston, told Reuters. 

In 2.31pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2 percent. In 2.16pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.3 percent. 

The S&P 500 rose to a record high 2,496.35.

In the latest US jobs data, a Labour Department report showed job openings rose by 54,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.2 million, a record high. 

“Employers need skilled labour and experienced workers are in short supply, which continues to suggest the economy has returned to a relatively normal labour market that does not need exceptional support from the Fed,” John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York, told Reuters. 

Federal Reserve policy makers begin their next two-day meeting on Tuesday. 

The Dow moved higher as advances in shares of Pfizer and those of Goldman Sachs, recently up 3 percent and 2.5 percent respectively, outweighed slides in shares of McDonald’s and those of UnitedHealth, recently down 3.1 percent and 1.1 percent respectively.

Shares of McDonald’s declined amid concern about its third-quarter sales. Data tracker M Science said its sales projections for the fast-food chain are below Wall Street’s estimates, Bloomberg reported.

Shares of Apple fell, down 0.5 percent to US$160.67 as of 2.46pm in New York, after rising as high as US$163.96 earlier in the day. The world’s most valuable company unveiled a slew of new products including three new phones, a watch and TV. 

Shares of Wal-Mart rose, trading 0.6 percent higher as of 2.49pm in New York. The world’s biggest retailer is reorganising US store operations as it looks to streamline its sprawling business, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the situation.

The retailer will consolidate its US business from six to four divisions, each of which is managed by a senior vice president, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the move hasn’t been publicly announced, according to Bloomberg.

The number of regions in the US organisation also will be reduced from 44 to 36, Bloomberg reported, citing the person. Executives affected by the move could take other roles inside the company, the person said.

In Europe the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.5 percent increase from the previous close. Germany’s DAX Index rose 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 Index gained 0.6 percent.

The UK’s FTSE 100 Index fell 0.2 percent, while the British pound rallied, touching the highest level in a year, after a report showed the country’s inflation rose more than expected in August. 

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is set to gather for their policy decision on Thursday. It’s expected to keep its key interest rate at a record low. 

“I think it will be a real headache for the MPC,” Sam Hill, an economist with RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters. “Inflationary pressure is there but there is also evidence that consumers are having a tough time.”

(BusinessDesk)

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