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Nasdaq at record as Wall St runs on strong data; Greece eyed

The Nasdaq Composite today erased its last standing milestone from the dot-com era as it set a record intraday high, with stocks on Wall Street in rally mode boosted by strong economic data.

The Nasdaq Composite hit a high of 5,143.316, topping the previous 5,132.52 record which stood since March 10, 2000. It also set a record closing high, as did the Russell 2000 , while the S&P 500 closed within 0.5 percent of its record.

US consumer prices posted last month their largest increase in more than two years, jobless claims applications fell last week to a near 15-year low and factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region accelerated to a six-month high in June.

Markets have closely watched for signals from the US central bank as it prepares to raise rates for the first time in almost a decade.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 180.1 points, or 1 percent, to 18,115.84, the S&P 500 gained 20.8 points, or 0.99 percent, to 2,121.24 and the Nasdaq Composite added 68.07 points, or 1.34 percent, to 5,132.95.

In Europe, a rise in mining shares enabled stock markets to recover ground, although the Athens bourse touched three-year lows on mounting worries over Greece's debt crisis.

Athens' benchmark ATG equity index touched its lowest level since late 2012, as worries intensified over a deadlock on talks between Greece and its creditors. The ATG edged back to close 0.4 percent higher but remains down 17 percent in 2015.

Greece must find a way out of the impasse by the end of June, when it is due a 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) repayment to the International Monetary Fund, potentially leaving it bankrupt and on the verge of leaving the euro zone.

However, the broader, pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.2 percent while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 0.6 percent, with both recovering from losses in the previous session.

Germany's DAX rose 1.1 percent, with the DAX some 10 percent below record highs set in April.

Mining stocks added the most points to the FTSEurofirst, buoyed by firmer copper prices and upbeat Chinese data.

Equity markets were also boosted after the US Federal Reserve indicated that the pace of any US interest rate hike would be slower than originally expected.

The Fed's statement weakened US Treasury yields, driving investors to the better returns on offer from stocks. Lower yields also typically mean lower borrowing costs for companies.

The FTSEurofirst is up around 10 percent this year, partly due to economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB).

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Tags:  US  stock market  Europe  Nikkei  





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