- Title: S&P 500 nears record high, helped by bank stocks
- Date: 17th November 2016
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (NOVEMBER 17, 2016) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) MERIDIAN EQUITY PARTNERS SENIOR MANAGING PARTNER, JONATHAN CORPINA, SAYING: "What we heard out of Washington today clearly wasn't anything that was market moving. It wasn't anything that was unexpected, and Ms. Yellen pretty much stayed down the course that she has before."
- Embargoed: 2nd December 2016 21:27
- Keywords: Jonathan Corpina Meridian NYSE markets trading economy Fed
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Economic Events,Equities Markets
- Reuters ID: LVA00258U3B0T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The benchmark S&P 500 index rose to within a hair of its record high on Thursday (November 17) as bank stocks got a boost from bets on higher interest rates and consumer discretionary stocks were helped by economic data and earnings.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in her congressional testimony, solidified bets that the central bank was on track to raise interest rates in December.
"What we heard out of Washington today clearly wasn't anything that was market moving. It wasn't anything that was unexpected, and Ms. Yellen pretty much stayed down the course that she has before," Meridian Equity Partners senior managing partner Jonathan Corpina told Reuters.
U.S. data for October showed consumer prices recorded their biggest lift in six months in October and housing starts surged to a more than nine-year high, helped by both single family and multifamily homes.
The housing data helped Home Depot shares rise 2.9 percent, making it the biggest driver for the consumer discretionary index and the second-biggest S&P boost.
Best Buy BBY.N shares also helped with a 13.7 percent jump after the No. 1 U.S. electronics retailer's quarterly results beat expectations.
The S&P 500 gained 10.18 points, or 0.47 percent, to end at 2,187.12, compared with its Aug. 15 record of 2190.15.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 35.68 points, or 0.19 percent, at 18,903.82, and the Nasdaq Composite added 39.39 points, or 0.74 percent, to reach 5,333.97.
Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The S&P Financial index was the leading advancer with a 1.3 percent gain, boosted by a 1.6 percent increase in the banking sub-sector.
Yellen's vow to stay in her job for the rest of her term likely helped the broader market, said J.J. Feldman, portfolio manager at Los Angeles-based Miracle Mile Advisors.
U.S. stocks have been on a tear since Donald Trump's surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election last week, with the Dow closing at a record level four days in a row.
Trump's promised increase in infrastructure spending is also expected to boost economic activity and inflation, and raises the possibility of more interest rate hikes.
Traders are pricing in an 83 percent chance of a December move, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The Dow's advance was held back by a 3.7 percent fall in Wal-Mart after the world's largest retailer reported lower-than-expected comparable quarterly sales.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.60-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 35 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 262 new highs and 27 new lows.
About 7.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Thursday, compared with the 7.9 billion average for the last 20 sessions.
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