December 18, 2014
Wall Street S&P 500 ends at record on housing, HP; transports fly
The S&P 500 closed at a record high, buoyed by a rally in housing stocks after better-than-expected home sales and a jump in Hewlett-Packard shares a day after the personal computer maker said it would cut more jobs.
The S&P 500 ended above 1,900, just below a record intraday high of 1,902.17 set on May 13 and above its record closing high of 1,897.45 the same day.
Eight of the 10 S&P sector indexes ended higher for the day.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average rose 0.8 percent to close at a record high, after hitting a lifetime intraday high of 7,995.39.
Hewlett-Packard jumped 6.1 percent to $33.72. The stock was among the S&P 500's best performers a day after the personal computer maker said it may cut as many as 16,000 more jobs in a major ramp-up of CEO Meg Whitman's years-long effort to turn the company around and relieve pressure on its profit margins.
The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, fell 5.6 percent to end at 11.36, its lowest level since March 2013. Known as Wall Street's fear index, the VIX is extremely low by historical standards.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 63.19 points or 0.38 percent, to 16,606.27. The S&P 500 gained 8.04 points or 0.42 percent, to end at 1,900.53, a record. The Nasdaq Composite added 31.47 points or 0.76 percent, to 4,185.81.
The S&P 500 posted its fifth daily advance out of the past six sessions, and its first weekly gain out of the past three.
For the week, the Dow rose 0.7 percent, the S&P 500 jumped 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq gained 2.3 percent.
Housing stocks rallied for a second day after data from the Commerce Department showed sales of new US single-family homes rose more than expected in April and the supply of houses on the market hit a 3-1/2 year high. A day ago, another report showed existing home sales rebounded in April.
In Europe, shares edged lower moving further away from last week's six-year highs with investors trading cautiously ahead of European and Ukrainian election results.
At 0755 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.1 percent at 1,364.75 points after closing 0.1 percent higher in the previous session. The index climbed to 1,372.81 on May 15, its highest since 2008.
Japan's Nikkei share average surged to a three-week closing high, thanks to upbeat economic data in Japan's two biggest trade partners, with the yen's retreat rounding out an encouraging array of positive catalysts.
The Nikkei share average rose 0.9 percent to 14,462.17, its highest close since May 1 and pulling further away from a one-month low of 13,964 hit on Wednesday.
The broader Topix rose 1.0 percent to 1,180.44 while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained as much to 10,770.38.