December 22, 2014
Wall Street: Dow, S&P 500 end at record highs again; Nasdaq slips
The Dow and the S&P 500 eked out record closing highs again today, while the Nasdaq resumed its recent slide, dragged down by shares of Cisco.
The S&P 500 briefly rose above 1,900 for the first time early in the session, but quickly gave back some of its gains. In contrast, the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks fell 1.1 percent.
Homebuilders' shares gained and the common stock of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac jumped as Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt laid out new policies that could make it easier for many Americans to obtain mortgages. Fannie Mae jumped 7.8 percent to $4.57 while Freddie Mac advanced 6.9 percent to $4.49.
Cisco Systems Inc, set to report results on Wednesday, was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq. The stock slid 1.4 percent to end at $22.86.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19.97 points or 0.12 percent, to 16,715.44, its third straight record closing high. The Dow also set an intraday record at 16,735.51.
The S&P 500 gained just 0.8 of a point or 0.04 percent, to 1,897.45, its second straight record closing high. The S&P 500 also advanced during the session to 1,902.17, a lifetime intraday high.
The Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.69 points or 0.33 percent, to 4,130.165.
European equities ended higher, with some benchmarks hitting multi-year highs following upbeat company results from major companies such as aerospace giant Airbus and steelmaker ThyssenKrupp.
Airbus, the world's second-largest aerospace group, surged 6.2 percent after reporting better-than-expected profits and saying its new A350 jet was "progressing towards certification" in time for first delivery by the end of the year. It was the top gainer on the FTSEurofirst 300.
ThyssenKrupp, Germany's biggest steelmaker, rose 4.1 percent after posting its first quarterly net profit in two years - beating analyst estimates - and raising its forecast for full-year operating profit.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.3 percent higher at 1,368.75 points after hitting an intra-day peak of 1,369.04, a level not seen since May 2008. The UK's FTSE 100 scaled a 14-year high, while France's CAC 40 touched a near six-year high.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 rose 0.2 percent to 3,211.78 points.
Meanwhile, Japanese stocks jumped 2 percent to a 1-1/2-week high today as a weaker yen lifted exporters, while Nissan Motor Co and Sharp Corp gained on hopes that their perceived conservative forecasts suggested more upside to their earnings.
The benchmark Nikkei share average ended 275.92 points higher at 14,425.44, the highest close since May 2.
The broader Topix rose 1.8 percent to 1,178.35, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 1.8 percent to 10,728.59.
Nissan jumped 5.1 percent.