Markets Right Now: Energy stocks lead an early decline

Markets Right Now: Energy stocks lead an early decline

The Russell 2000 index, which is made up of mostly smaller companies, rose 1.1% to a new record as well.

Analysts said the momentum in the USA remains tilted to the upside amid expectations President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress will enact pro-growth measures and loosen regulations.

The Nasdaq composite added 24.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,333.00.

The S&P 500 posted 86 new 52-week highs and 7 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 305 new highs and 26 new lows.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, while losses in Pfizer, Celgene and Johnson & Johnson dragged the healthcare sector down 1.27 per cent. Smaller companies, which are more domestically focused than large multinationals, could stand to benefit more than larger ones from a pickup in US growth. The Russell recovered from an early loss to gain 9 points, or 0.7 percent. The S&P 500 set its latest record on November 25.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose, sending yields lower. Bond yields are falling, and investors are buying stocks that pay large dividends. That's leading to gains for real estate investment trusts, utilities and phone companies.

Oil prices rose for the fourth day in a row.

Heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.64 a gallon, wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.54 a gallon and natural gas fell 2 cents to $3.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.

"When we have run up so high, it's common that there is some sensitivity in the market, maybe due to softer oil prices or just the technical aspects of being at such high levels", said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in NY. He did not say how his administration plans to do that.

In other corporate news, Nike NKE.N fell 2.5 percent after Cowen & Co downgraded the shoe and apparel maker's shares to "market perform". Amgen lost $3.92, or 2.7 percent, to $141.19 and Vertex Pharmaceuticals sank $2.80, or 3.6 percent, to $75.32.

A strengthening USA dollar also weighed on the S&P 500, which has a large exposure to multi-national companies with a global footprint.

Computer hardware, housing, telecom and semiconductor stocks also saw notable strength on the day, while biotechnology stocks bucked the uptrend. This news is the latest sign the labor market is healthier and wages are growing. The price of oil has surged since OPEC countries finalized a deal that will trim oil production starting in January.

AT&T shares rose 1.8%, supplying the biggest boost for the S&P 500.

BAGGED: Handbag and accessories maker Vera Bradley sank after it posted weak results and issued a disappointing outlook for the current quarter. Silver jumped 47 cents to $17.28 an ounce. Benchmark U.S. oil rose 11 cents to $51.79 per barrel in NY. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, shed 9 cents to $53.84 a barrel in London.

However, the attention may be more on the Fed policy now as investors await central bank meetings over the coming days. The stimulus is created to boost growth and inflation. European stock indexes climbed. The CAC 40 of France picked up 1.4 percent. The dollar rose to 114.14 yen from 113.89 yen. The euro rose to $1.0751 from $1.0756. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 retreated 0.8 percent.

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