Market Update & Important Indicators
Major U.S. indexes notched a trifecta of records Friday to cap off another meteoric week for stocks. Stocks mostly rose over the last week, as surging optimism around a steadily expanding U.S. economy and expectations that companies will report strong corporate profits for the fourth quarter powered indexes to new heights. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 500 points for a second consecutive week, a first for the blue-chip index in nearly 18 years, as the S&P 500 logged its second straight week of more-than 1% gains. Some investors say the extension of last year's rally into 2018 is a sign the bull market can continue, especially with the start of the corporate earnings season Friday, which began with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo releasing results for the most recent quarter. S&P 500 companies are expected to expand earnings by about 10% from the year-earlier period, an improvement from the single-digit growth those businesses saw in the third quarter, according to FactSet estimates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 228.46 points, or 0.9%, to 25803.19. The S&P 500 gained 18.68 points, or 0.7%, to 2786.24, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 49.28 points, or 0.7%, to 7261.06. All three indexes closed at new records. The U.S. gold price traded higher overnight, adding 1.2% to close at 1,337.40 US$/oz.
European stocks edged higher Friday, but gains were held in check by a surging euro on the back of a breakthrough in German government-coalition talks. The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.3% to close at 398.49, swinging into positive for the week and ending with a 0.3% weekly gain. Germany's DAX 30 index closed up 0.3% at 13,245.03, and France's CAC 40 picked up 0.5% to 5,517.06. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index edged up 0.2% at 7,778.64, scoring another record closing high.
In Asian trading Friday, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1%, a record-tying 10th consecutive gain, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng and South Korea's Kospi closing up 0.9% and 0.3% respectively. The Japanese Nikkei Stock Average, however, closed down 0.2%.
Gains faded into the close for Australia's stock benchmark, barely letting it end its 2-day pullback that erased start-of-month gains. The S&P/ASX 200 rose 2.5 points to 6070.1 thanks to big miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, which again hit fresh multiyear highs in rising some 2%. Energy names also rose with oil still at 3-year highs. But Incitec Pivot fell 4.2% after warning of an earnings hit from the loss of an explosives contract. And ANZ dropped 0.7% after scrapping a planned US$460 million sale of a finance unit to China's HNA.
The London Metal Exchange’s 3-month copper contract traded lower overnight, falling 0.4% to finish at $7,110/t. The other base metals finished mixed. Aluminium prices jumped 1.8% to close at 2,203/t, whilst Lead prices pulled back 0.4% to close at 2,544/t. Zinc prices added 0.7% to close at 3,436/t, whilst Tin prices closed 0.3% higher at 20,302/t. Nickel prices rebounded 0.9%, closing at 12,684/t.
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