Published: Sun, September 17, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

US Stocks Reach Another Milestone as S&P 500 Vaults Past 2500

Fueled by gains in component stocks Boeing (BA) and United Technologies (UTX), the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high with a fifth consecutive higher close, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were weighed down by strong inflation data, soft Chinese manufacturing data, and the persistent geopolitical risks from North Korea.

And every market sector showed increases, despite reports showing Hurricanes Harvey and Irma had a big impact on USA retail sales and industrial activity in August that is likely to cut economic growth in the third quarter.

The S&P 500 was down a couple of points at 2,494 while the Dow Jones 30-share was up 19 at 22,222.

U.S. Treasury yields have also surged this week.

Earlier, North Korea fired a second missile in as many weeks over Japan, drawing criticism from global leaders but barely moving shares as investors await the next catalyst - the Federal Reserve's meeting on September 19-20. The August decline in sales and downward revisions to the prior months make it more likely that consumption, the biggest part of the economy, will be hard-pressed to match the 3.3 percent growth pace of the prior quarter.

Health care (-0.3%) and consumer discretionary (-0.2%) were the day's weakest groups, trimming their respective weekly gains to 0.4% and 0.9%, while utilities (+0.1%) edged higher but still fell 0.4% on the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) rose 0.3% to close at 22,268.34 for its sixth consecutive gain.

Gold fell 0.6 percent to $1,321.69 an ounce.West Texas Intermediaterose 0.1 percent to $49.93 a barrel.

Apple picked up $1.60, or 1 percent, to $159.88 after three days of declines.

Wall Street largely shrugged off reports showing an unexpected drop in USA retail sales last month and the first drop in industrial output since January, both in part due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

The Fed said Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly three-quarters of a percentage point.

Traders may have been expressing optimism that the impact of the hurricanes may lead the Federal Reserve to delay an increase in interest rates.

"Disappointing retail sales growth suggests 3Q consumer spending growth will slow markedly from 2Q's 3.3% rate; however, we still think other components can provide offsetting support within the GDP report", said James Knightley, the chief worldwide economist at ING.

The US$226mln-valued company'sstock rose 3.5% on the news. Up 12 per cent since January, the S&P 500 is on course for its best annual gain in four years. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.7 percent.

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