December 18, 2014
Dow, S&P end at records; Apple, Google drag on Nasdaq
The Dow and the S&P 500 finished at record highs again today after a closely watched read on US manufacturing was revised to show more strength than initially indicated.
Industrials and material stocks were among the day's biggest gainers, while the technology sector ended lower, weighed down by big names like Apple and Google.
After hours of confusion, the Institute for Supply Management officially corrected its earlier report to show that the pace of growth in the US manufacturing sector accelerated in May. Wall Street fell initially after the first report, with all 10 S&P 500 sector indexes down for the day at one point.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.46 points or 0.16 percent, to 16,743.63. The S&P 500 gained 1.40 points or 0.07 percent, to 1,924.97. But the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.42 points or 0.13 percent, to 4,237.20.
The Dow ended at a second consecutive record high while the S&P 500 closed at a third consecutive record though volume was still slight, suggesting a lack of conviction behind the advance. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 also set lifetime intraday highs.
European shares started the month positively, buoyed by upbeat economic data from China that helped to allay worries about growth rates there.
Basic resources stocks, including miners and other commodity companies, rose 1.5 percent, one of the biggest sectoral gainers, after data showed Chinese factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in five months in May.
Miners, acutely sensitive to the health of the Chinese economy since it is the top metals consumer, had fallen on Friday on concern over China - which, alongside lacklustre growth globally, has deterred recent investment into the sector.
Miners have risen less than 2 percent this year, against a 5.1 percent advance for the STOXX Europe 600. Mining giant Rio Tinto is languishing around 2014 lows while the broader index is trading at its peak for the year.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.2 percent at 1,380.46 points.
France's CAC index underperformed the broader market, dipping 0.1 percent, as data showed French manufacturing contracted again in May, having recorded its first two months of growth since 2011 in March and April.
Spain's blue-chip IBEX gained 0.3 percent after its manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest rate since April 2010.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average climbed to a two-month closing high today after strong Chinese factory data lifted sentiment.
But Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co Ltd tumbled on news that it is in talks to buy a US life insurance company, with investors wondering how the company would fund the acquisition.
The Nikkei ended 2.1 percent higher at 14,935.92, its highest close since April 4.
Dai-ichi Life dropped 5 percent and was the fourth most-traded stock by turnover. The company, Japan's second-largest private-sector life insurer by premium revenue,is in advanced talks to buy Alabama-based Protective Life.
The broader Topix added 1.6 percent to 1,220.47, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 1.6 percent to 11,119.19.