Markets Right Now: Stocks open higher on Wall Street

Irving Hamilton
August 9, 2018

The S&P 500 inched nearer to a record high on Tuesday, lifted by Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft, and by a strong second-quarter earnings season that fuelled optimism about the U.S. economy's strength.

The S&P 500 index rose 7 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,858.

The index was up 0.37 percent at 2860.91, about half a percent away from the record it hit on January 26.

"Strong earnings is part of what has kept the market buoyant and one of the reasons why we're in an uptrend right now". "Momentum can go on for a long time", said Liz Young, senior investment strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management in NY.

Energy stocks fell 0.8 per cent as crude prices dropped due to slowing Chinese demand and trade concerns.

"Financials really have been trading a lot with the bond market". "When you have substantial declines, particularly off of previous highs, you normally will see periods of digestion".

The S&P 500 energy index gained one per cent after U.S. sanctions on Iranian goods went into effect, intensifying concerns about supply.

Shares of high-flying stocks, including those of Google's parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook were trading up between 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent. The Internet retail and infrastructure heavyweight provided the greatest lift to the S&P 500, followed by Alphabet and Microsoft.

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A strong earnings season has helped United States stocks cushion some of the impact from the simmering trade issues.

Second-quarter earnings season has entered the home stretch, and of the 440 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 78.6 percent have beaten analyst expectations, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 25,502.18 on Monday with a gain of 39.60 points or 0.16%.

Shares of Tesla Inc TSLA.O fell 2.4 percent as its board evaluated Elon Musk's idea of taking the electric automaker private, a day after the chief executive surprised the market by floating the proposal on Twitter. The stock ended the session up 1.8 percent. The VIX Volatility Index was lower at 11.27 for a loss of -0.37 points or -3.18%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.09-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. The Nasdaq Composite closed at 7,859.68 for a gain of 47.66 points or 0.61%.

The S&P index recorded 24 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 34 new lows.

Volume on USA exchanges was 5.95 billion shares, compared to the 6.31 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

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