December 14, 2017
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

S&P 500, Dow hit records, boosted by healthcare

US stocks climbed in afternoon trading, lifting both the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs as healthcare shares extended this week's gains.

Actavis Plc, Gilead Sciences, Celgene and other biotech names were among the S&P 500's biggest drivers, a day after Allergan agreed to be bought by Actavis. The Nasdaq biotech index was up 2.1 percent, adding to Monday's 0.3 percent gain.

The S&P health care index was up 1.6 percent, while shares of Actavis were up 8.3 percent, Gilead's rose 3.3 percent and shares of Celgene were up 2.4 percent. Helping Actavis were bullish analyst notes.

Among the biggest boosts for the Dow, shares of UnitedHealth were up 2 percent.

Further support for equities came from US producer prices that kept intact a trend of benign inflation.

At 2:55 pm (US time), the Dow Jones industrial average rose 73.3 points, or 0.42 percent, to 17,721.05, the S&P 500 gained 13.48 points, or 0.66 percent, to 2,054.8 and the Nasdaq Composite added 35.50 points, or 0.76 percent, to 4,706.50.

The S&P 500 rose hit an intraday record at 2,055.84 while the Dow hit a record at 17,732.62, and both were on track to post record closes as well.

The largest percentage decliner on the S&P 500 was Urban Outfitters, down 7.1 percent, a day after reporting results.

On the Nasdaq 100 the largest gainer was Illumina, which rose 4.6 percent, while the largest decliner was Yahoo , down 1.4 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,988 to 1,055, for a 1.88-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,688 issues rose and 1,020 fell for a 1.65-to-1 ratio.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 77 new 52-week highs and one new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 89 new highs and 47 new lows.

Across the Atlantic, European stocks rose for a second straight day today, helped by an improvement in German economic sentiment and speculation about fresh monetary stimulus in the euro zone.

Frankfurt's DAX index rose 1.6 percent after the ZEW survey showed German analyst and investor sentiment rose in November for the first time in almost a year, beating expectations and raising hopes of growth after Europe's biggest economy narrowly avoided recession.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,360.22 points, with the euro zone-only Euro STOXX 50 up 1.2 percent at 3,120.42 points.

The indexes were extending gains from the previous session, when the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank's stimulus is gaining traction but repeated the central bank's readiness to do more if necessary.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks had their biggest gain in two weeks. The Nikkei benchmark closed 2.2 percent higher at 17,344.06, the biggest daily percentage gain since November 4.

Sony Corp stole the spotlight, soaring 6.4 percent after it said it is aiming to garner up to $11 billion in revenue from its movie business in three years' time, a 36 percent increase over levels forecast for the current financial year.

The broader Topix rose 2.1 percent to 1,394.88, and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 2.1 percent to 12,727.58.

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Tags:  Stocks  shares  FTSEurofirst  Nikkei  US  Dow Jones  

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