US STOCKS-Nasdaq sets closing record

jueves 23 de abril de 2015 18:14 GYT
 

(Adds details on volume, quote, Google, Amazon, Microsoft up
after the bell)
    * Nasdaq tops March 10, 2000, high of 5,048.62
    * S&P 500 hits intraday record high
    * Indexes: Dow up 0.11 pct, S&P up 0.24 pct, Nasdaq up 0.41
pct

    By Caroline Valetkevitch
    April 23 (Reuters) - The Nasdaq Composite, the U.S. market
index most closely associated with technology stocks, closed at
an all-time high on Thursday, surpassing a 2000 record set just
before the dotcom crash.
    Its new record close of 5,056.06 capped a slow, unsteady
climb since it touched a 2002 low of 1,114.11, that spanned an
economic recession, the rise of biotech and social media and the
explosive growth of mobile phones that has helped make Apple Inc
 the most valuable company in the United States.
    The Nasdaq traded as high as 5,073.091 on Thursday, led by
shares of Apple, which has been among the biggest positive
influences on the index in recent years. The index's last record
close of 5,048.62 was hit on March 10, 2000.
    The benchmark S&P 500 index also set an intraday
high, but closed shy of a new record.
    Rapid growth in biotechnology companies such as Gilead
Sciences Inc and social media firms like Facebook Inc
, driven by the popularity of mobile computing, also
helped lift the Nasdaq to its current levels.
    Strategists say there is still room for the Nasdaq to rise.
    "Now that it's making a new high, I don't think it's just
going to stop. It has the potential to go up, absent some
external event that I can't predict. I think the companies look
as though they ought to power through this environment," said
Walter Price, senior portfolio manager and managing director of
the AllianzGI Global Technology fund in San Francisco. 
    In 2000, "a lot of the high-growth companies were selling at
200 or 300 times next year's earnings. This is nothing like
that. This is a whole different world versus 2000."
    On Thursday, shares of Gilead were up 1 percent at $105.21,
while Facebook, which late Wednesday posted quarterly revenue
that missed analysts estimates, was down 2.6 percent at $82.41.
    Shares of Apple were up 0.8 percent at $129.67, while Google
Inc was up 1.5 percent at $557.46. They are the two
top components by market cap in the Nasdaq. Microsoft Corp
, which was the top component in March 2000, is now
third, followed by Facebook. 
    The Dow Jones industrial average rose 20.42 points,
or 0.11 percent, to end at 18,058.69, the S&P 500 gained 4.97
points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,112.93 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 20.89 points, or 0.41 percent, to 5,056.06.
    After the close, Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures jumped as
Google, Microsoft and Amazon.com reported results.
Google shares were up 3.7 percent after the bell, while
Microsoft was up 3.1 percent and Amazon was up 7.4 percent.
    The Nasdaq shed 78.4 percent of its value from the 2000 peak
to its 2002 low 31 months later. From the March 2009 trough to
today's record, the index gained 300 percent.
    The Nasdaq Composite's market capitalization is $8.2
trillion, compared with a $19.5 trillion market cap for the S&P
500, according to Thomson Reuters data. The Nasdaq's market cap
was at $6.6 trillion in March 2000. 
    
 
    
    "It shows the strength in technology and biotechnology and
the M&A going on in both those areas, but especially in
biotech," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris
Group in Bedford Hills, New York.
    Though the Nasdaq is heavily associated with technology, the
S&P 500 technology sector is actually down about 21
percent since March 10, 2000, according to S&P-Dow Jones Indices
analyst Howard Silverblatt.
    On Thursday, eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher.
    Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by
2,039 to 956, for a 2.13-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the
Nasdaq, 1,659 issues rose and 1,061 fell, for a 1.56-to-1 ratio
favoring advancers.
    About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges,
compared with the daily average of 6.2 billion for the month to
date, according to data from BATS Global Markets.

 (Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak, Sinead Carew and
Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Savio D'Souza, G Crosse and Nick
Zieminski)