December 21, 2014
Late surge lifts Wall Street, utilities sag
US stocks closed higher today, lifted in a late rally driven by earnings from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and broad gains across most sectors that helped the S&P 500 rebound from its largest weekly drop since 2012.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc gave the S&P 500 its biggest boost, helping it snap a two-day losing streak and adding 0.8 of a point to the benchmark index's gain. The company said late Friday that its second-quarter profit soared 41 percent to a record, which helped push its Class B shares up 3.1 percent to end at $129.72.
Gains were partly offset by the S&P utilities sector index , which ended the day down 0.59 percent. It was the worst performer of the S&P's 10 sectors.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75.91 points, or 0.46 percent, to end at 16,569.28. The S&P 500 gained 13.84 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,938.99. The Nasdaq Composite added 31.25 points, or 0.72 percent, to close at 4,383.89.
A drop in the German and Swiss stock exchanges weighed on European shares, as the economic impact of sanctions against Russia offset some relief over a Banco Espirito Santo rescue deal.
The latest Sentix survey showed an unexpected slide in euro zone sentiment in July as investors saw the latest European Union sanctions on Moscow weighing particularly on Europe's largest economy, Germany.
Western powers stepped up sanctions against Russia after a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down last month over eastern Ukraine where Kiev's forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists.The DAX underperformed the broader pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which fell 0.2 percent to 1,330.12 points while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.1 percent to 3,070.46 points.
Japanese stocks edged down to a more than one-week low today, with financials and sea transporters leading the losses, as a sell-off in US stocks and concerns over Argentina's default and Portuguese banking problems dampened risk appetite.
Japanese equities still drew some support, however, from underlying hopes of an improvement in domestic corporate earnings, as well as solid Asian shares and a stable currency market.
The benchmark Nikkei extended losses for a third straight trading day, shedding 0.3 percent to end at 15,474.50 - its lowest closing level since July 25.
The broader Topix fell 0.4 percent to 1,276.19, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 lost 0.3 percent to 11,620.36.