While you were sleeping: Another day, another record high

Wall Street inched to record highs amid optimism that a fresh round of US corporate earnings will underpin the bullish outlook.

In 1.24pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.06 percent advance, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3 percent. In 1.09pm trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index inched 0.07 percent higher.

Investors are gearing up for another round of quarterly corporate earnings. Financial companies including BlackRock, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan are slated to report this week.

Gains were limited on Monday following last week’s rally. Even so, the Dow advanced to a record high of 25,308.61, while the S&P 500 rose to a record of 2,745.46 and the Nasdaq climbed to a record of 7,156.91.

“Overall, it suddenly feels like the consensus is in the reflation trade and almost daily there are more and more converts to the belief in a melt-up,” writes Christopher Harvey, head of equity strategy at Wells Fargo & Co, Bloomberg reported.

US retail investors appear to agree on the bullish outlook. Clients at TD Ameritrade added to stock holdings for an 11th straight month in December, one of the longest buying streaks for retail investors ever recorded by the brokerage, according to Bloomberg.

The Dow crept higher as gains in shares of Caterpillar and those of United Technologies, recently up 2.4 percent and 1.3 percent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of General Electric and those of Walt Disney, down 1.8 percent and 1.5 percent recently respectively.

Shares of GoPro sank, down 7.4 percent as of 1.32pm in New York, after the company announced job cuts and its exit from the drone market amid a disappointing fourth-quarter.

“As we noted in our November earnings call, at the start of the holiday quarter we saw soft demand for our HERO5 Black camera,” GoPro founder and CEO Nicholas Woodman said in a statement. “Despite significant marketing support, we found consumers were reluctant to purchase HERO5 Black at the same price it launched at one year earlier. Our December 10 holiday price reduction provided a sharp increase in sell-through.”

GoPro is considering selling itself and has hired JPMorgan to help it with the process, Reuters reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Oil prices moved marginally higher, with West Texas Intermediate up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, to US$61.50 a barrel.

“Ongoing protests in Iran, together with recent detention of several princes in Saudi Arabia, have reinvigorated geopolitical concerns,” Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy’s Global Gas Analytics in London, told Reuters.

“However, prospects for further increases in US oil production amid recent improvements seen in oil prices continue to promote bearish sentiment,” according to Kumar.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a gain from the previous close. France’s CAC40 Index rose 0.3 percent, while Germany’s DAX Index added 0.4 percent.

However, the UK’s FTSE 100 index fell 0.4 percent.


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