US stocks advanced modestly on Friday as the S&P 500 hit a new intraday record and the Dow hit above 18,000 for the first time this year, following upbeat German growth data.
Germany climbed 0.7% in Q4, more than double the 0.3% estimate, pointing to a stronger 2015 for the largest economy of the region.
Reuters reported that the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.24% or 42.95 points to 18,015.33 while the S&P 500 added 0.15% or 3.05 points to 2,091.53. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.11% or 5.43 points to 4,863.04.
The S&P 500 hit an intraday record at 2,093.79, surpassing its previous record on December 29.
Equities rallied this week after a ceasefire agreement between Russia and Ukraine, and the progress on the Greek debt deal in the euro zone.
Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC said, “The tape is news sensitive, the overall feel is that headline risk is waning and adding to the belief the risk-on mindset is justified. We’ve had strong follow through with an overall better feeling about the geopolitical situation.”
Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research said that he was troubled to see the records come this soon. Market Watch quoted Frederick as having said, “Options market is signaling some warning signs. Namely, the open interest in put/call ratio is at very high levels. That indicates that either investors are very nervous or they are positioning for a sharp pullback.”
He added, “The only reason the market rose to record highs is because investors think oil is stabilizing after a few weeks of pick-up in prices and I think that reaction was overly positive. This development is troubling.”
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