May 19, 2013
Wall Street inches up, European shares end flat
US stocks edged up today, with the Dow rising for the ninth straight session to another record, buoyed by surprisingly strong retail sales that suggested the economy is gaining momentum.
The Dow Jones industrial average's nine-day winning streak is the longest consecutive run since November 1996.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 5.22 points, or 0.04 percent, to 14,455.28, another record closing high. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 2.04 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,554.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.80 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 3,245.12.
European shares recouped their earlier losses to end flat near 4-1/2-year highs today, with sentiment improving after robust US retail sales data pointed to a continued recovery in the world's biggest economy.
However, Italy's FTSE MIB index, down 1.7 percent to 15,745.34 points, underperformed the market following weaker demand at its first bond auction since Fitch cut the country's credit rating.
Analysts said the broader stock market was poised to resume its recent rally in the coming days as the improving economic outlook could prompt more investors to put their money in equities at the expense of other asset classes.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended flat at 1,194.11 points, after hitting an intra-day low of 1,188.98. It recovered after data showed U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in February, the largest increase since September.The Nikkei share average slipped for a second day as investors took a firmer yen as a cue to pocket profits in exporters like Panasonic Corp after an eight-session market rally.
But expectations for further monetary easing by the Japanese central bank kept losses in check, and shares of warehouse operators and other expected beneficiaries from the government's reflationary push managed to buck the downdraft.
The Nikkei closed down 0.6 percent at 12,239.66, after seesawing in and out of positive territory through the day. The benchmark is down 1.8 percent from a 4-1/2 year high of 12,461.97 hit in early trade on Tuesday. The broader Topix shed 0.4 percent to 1,031.42.