Market Update & Important Indicators:
The S&P 500 rose to a fresh intraday high, drawing closer to snapping what has been the Index’s longest stretch without a closing record in two years. Signs of a buoyant labour market, strong consumer spending and extended corporate earnings growth have helped U.S. stocks edge higher over the summer. Yet the gains have been modest, and new highs elusive, the S&P 500 briefly topped its Jan. 26 closing record before edging just below the level again. Earlier in the month, the index had gotten within 0.5% of the January record before withdrawing again. If the S&P 500 closes above the level, it will have cleared what some investors say has been a black mark for the stock market-reassuring those who have worried that a months long stretch without a new high pointed to broader weakness in the market. The S&P 500 was recently up 0.2%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.2%. The US gold price gained 0.5% to 1,195.50 US$/oz.
European stocks closed mostly higher, rising for a second straight session with banks and pharmaceutical stocks leading the day's advancers. Despite the general uptrend on the day, U.K. stocks ended with modest losses, pressured by a decline in BHP Billiton after the company's results. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2% to 384.15. This was the second straight day of gains for the index, although it came after three straight weeks of losses. Italian stocks were proving the day's best performers in Europe, with the FTSE MIB Italy index climbing 1.5% to 20,767.73. Germany's DAX rose 0.4% to 12,384.49. On Monday, the index rose 1% in its biggest single-day percentage gain since July 26. That came after its third straight down week, its longest such stretch since February. France's CAC 40 jumped 0.6% to 5,413.58.
Asian stocks inched higher as Japan's Nikkei Stock Average finished up 0.1% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.6% Indian shares, however, eased from fresh highs as investors looked for cues. The S&P BSE Sensex ended flat at 38,285.75 after hitting a new intra-day high of 38,402.96. Indonesian stocks logged a second day of strong gains. The JSX index climbed 0.9% to 5944.30, the highest in a week-and-a-half as Aug. 13's Turkey-fuelled slump continues to get reversed. Japanese stock were again soft, feeling further pressure from a rebounding yen. The Nikkei did manage to turn higher late, finishing up at 22219.73 after having dropped seven of the prior nine days, but the broader Topix fell 0.4% amid fresh gains in most of Asia.
Australian stocks stuck out like a sore thumb amid another session of regional gains. The S&P/ASX 200 finished down 1% at 6284.4 after two days of 10 1/2-year closing highs, logging the worst day in five months. BHP Billiton's fiscal year report helped bring a reason to take some profits. The big miner fell 1.9% and the materials sector lost 1.3%, as did financials. Energy lost 1.8%. But health care rose 0.4%, hitting fresh record highs. The market segment has been this year's star, surging 35%.
Base metal prices were mainly up on the London Metal Exchange. Lead gained 1.9% to 1,985/t, Zinc increased 1.9% to 2,426/t. Nickel recorded a minor drop to 13,475/t as the 3-month copper contract appreciated 0.9% to 6,018/t. Aluminium declined 0.1% to record 2,030/t.
Recent Contacts & Presentations:
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