January 6, 2017 / 8:21 PM / 2 years ago

US STOCKS-Boosted by Apple, Wall Street parties like it's 19,999

* Dow rises as high as 19,999.63

* 156,000 U.S. jobs added in Dec vs forecast 178,000

* All three major indexes hit intra-day record highs

* Indexes up: Dow 0.43 pct, S&P 0.46 pct, Nasdaq 0.72 pct (Updates with detail on Florida shooting, valuations, earnings outlook)

By Noel Randewich

Jan 6 (Reuters) - The Dow came within one point of 20,000 for the first time ever on Friday, boosted by a rise in Apple shares and extending a two-month rally fueled by optimism that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s policies will bolster the economy.

All three major U.S. indexes were set to notch record high closes, helped by Apple. The iPhone maker climbed 1.16 percent after Canada’s Competition Bureau did not find sufficient evidence it had engaged in anti-competitive conduct, closing a two-year investigation into the company.

U.S. stocks have risen sharply since Trump won the U.S. election in November, with the Dow up 9 percent. While Friday’s gains suggested the rally was not yet over, some investors have grown cautious.

“The market’s advance is understandable because of the economic stimulus optimism associated with a new Trump presidency,” said CFRA chief investment strategist Sam Stovall. “But parabolic market advances traditionally experience digestion of these gains, and I don’t think this time will be any different.”

The first record high of the year for the S&P 500 followed a U.S. Labor Department report that showed the economy added fewer-than-expected jobs last month but wages increased, suggesting resilience in the labor market.

Stocks did not react significantly to a report that five people were dead in a shooting at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale airport.

At 2:57 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 84.99 points, or 0.43 percent, to 19,984.28 points. The index rose as high as 19,999.63.

The S&P 500 gained 10.56 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2,279.56 and the Nasdaq Composite added 39.75 points, or 0.72 percent, to 5,527.69.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by the technology sector’s 1.07 percent gain.

The Nasdaq was on track to end the week up 2.7 percent. The S&P 500 headed for a 1.8 percent weekly rise while the Dow was on track to end 1.1 percent higher for the week.

The strength of fourth-quarter earnings reports from U.S. companies over the next few weeks will be closely watched by investors eyeing high stock valuations.

Following its recent gains, the S&P 500 is trading at about 17 times expected earnings, pricey compared to its 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

Analysts on average expect fourth-quarter earnings to rise 6.1 percent compared to a year before, when slumping oil prices crippled energy companies, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

During the session, Amgen rose 2.7 percent after a U.S. district judge blocked Sanofi and Regeneron from selling their cholesterol drug, which Amgen said infringed its patents. Regeneron fell 5.3 percent and was the biggest percentage loser on the S&P 500.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.02-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.12-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 71 new highs and 14 new lows. (Addtional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Meredith Mazzilli)

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