December 18, 2017
Monday, December 22, 2014

Dow, S&P end at records in 4th straight day of gains for Wall Street

US stocks rose for a fourth straight session today, with both the Dow and S&P 500 ending at records as large-cap technology shares gained and offset continued weakness in energy names.

Major indexes opened with slight gains but strengthened throughout the session, ending near their highs of the day. Despite that, trading was quiet with many market participants out ahead of the upcoming Christmas holiday.

About 6.41 billion shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the month-to-date average of 7.86 billion.

Tech was the strongest sector of the day, with the S&P information technology sector up 1.1 percent. Intel Corp rose 2.3 percent to $37.21, providing the biggest boost to the Dow, while IBM rose 1.8 percent to $161.44 and Cisco Systems rose 1.6 percent to $28.22. Priceline Group rose 3.6 percent to $1,149.38.

Crude oil sank 3.2 percent after Saudi Arabia's powerful oil minister said OPEC would not cut production at any price. The S&P energy index fell 1 percent as one of the day's weakest sectors; Chesapeake Energy fell 7.3 percent to $18.42 while Southwestern Energy was off 5.5 percent at $29.31.

Crude oil is coming off four straight weeks of declines, and has fallen in 11 of the past 12 completed weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 154.64 points, or 0.87 percent, to 17,959.44, the S&P 500 gained 7.89 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,078.54 and the Nasdaq Composite added 16.04 points, or 0.34 percent, to 4,781.42.

Both the Dow and S&P ended at closing records, with the benchmark S&P building on a 3.4 percent rise last week. That advance came after the US Federal Reserve said it would take a "patient" approach toward raising interest rates and oil prices appeared to stabilize.

European equities ended higher, rising for the fifth session in a row, with Greek shares boosted by the prime minister's offer to bring pro-European independents into the government.

Bucking the trend, shares in Italian lender Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena shed 6.9 percent, hit by renewed fears of big writedowns on poorly performing loans.

Monte Paschi is expected to book around 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) in gross loan writedowns in the last quarter, much higher than the 1.2 billion euro total booked over the previous three quarters.

However, the biggest loser was French semiconductor engineering group Soitec, plummeting 55 percent after warning on its profit outlook.

Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index advanced by 0.5 percent, Germany's DAX gained 0.8 percent, France's CAC rose 0.3 percent while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index climbed 0.4 percent, to 1,367.00 points.

Athens' ATG equity index, which has fallen by more than 25 percent in 2014 on concerns about a disorderly exit from Greece's international bailout, rose 0.6 percent.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras offered on Sunday to bring independents into the government and hold new elections in late 2015 if lawmakers back him to elect a new president.

Shares in oil and gas stocks ended lower, surrendering early gains as oil prices resumed their downward march after Saudi Arabia's powerful oil minister said OPEC would not cut production at any price.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks advanced as rebounding crude prices underpinned oil-related shares.

The Nikkei benchmark ticked up 0.1 percent to end the day at 17,635.14, its highest closing level since December 9.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange oil and coal products companies subindex starred, gaining 8.4 percent as oil staunched its recent losses.

US crude added 1.4 percent to $57.88 a barrel. Oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu soared 27.7 percent on a media report that it was in talks to be acquired by bigger rival Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd for as much as 500 billion yen ($4.2 billion).

The broader Topix gained 0.2 percent to 1,413.05, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 ticked up 0.3 percent to 12,840.74.

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Tags:  Stocks  shares  FTSEurofirst  Nikkei  US  Dow Jones  

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