December 19, 2014
Dow, S&P close at records; payrolls in focus
The Dow and the S&P 500 both ended at new highs today after the European Central Bank cut rates to record lows and pledged to do more if needed to fight off the risk of deflation.
Investors are now focused on Friday's US payrolls report for May. It is expected to show job growth slowed last month and the unemployment rate ticked up, but not by enough to upset the view that the economy is bouncing back.
The day's gains were broad, with all ten S&P 500 sectors ending higher. Industrials rose 1.1 percent and financials 0.9 percent. The day's weakest sector was telecom, considered a defensive group, which rose less than 0.1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 98.58 points or 0.59 percent, to 16,836.11, the S&P 500 gained 12.58 points or 0.65 percent, to 1,940.46 and the Nasdaq Composite added 44.59 points or 1.05 percent, to 4,296.23.
With today’s advance, the S&P has risen in nine of the past 11 sessions, up 3.6 percent over that period, and ended at a record high five times in the past six sessions.
The ECB cut the deposit rate to -0.10 percent and launched a series of measures to pump money into the sluggish euro zone economy. It stopped short of full-fledged quantitative easing (QE) - printing money to buy assets - but ECB President Mario Draghi said more action would come if necessary.
Euro zone shares rose, led by banks in peripheral countries, as the European Central Bank unveiled a string of measures to fight low inflation and boost the currency bloc's economy.
The Euro STOXX index rose 0.8 percent to 331.70 points after setting a six-year high at 333.80. The blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 ended up 0.9 percent higher at 3,267.05 points.
Meanwhile, Japanese stocks ended at a near three-month high as the weak-yen trend supported the mood, but gains were limited as investors took a breather from recent sharp gains ahead of key events such as a US jobs report tomorrow.
The Nikkei ended 0.1 percent higher at 15,079.37, the highest closing level since March 11.