US Stocks Edge Higher Amid Economic Optimism


US Stocks Edge Higher Amid Economic Optimism

US stocks climbed with the benchmark indexes approaching all-time highs amid optimism that the economy is showing sufficient strength to overcome the slowdown overseas.

Gains were led by phone companies with technology stocks gaining with Hewlett-Packard Co. rising to the highest level since May 2011 even after missing the earnings estimates by analysts. Energy producers decreased with Seadrill Ltd suspending dividends amid the lowest prices of oil in more than four years.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.2% to 2,070.26 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped less than 0.1% or 10.79 points to 17,804.15. The Nasdaq 100 Index rose 0.5%.

Trading in the S&P 500 companies dropped 32% below the 30-day average.

Chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., Richard Sichel said, “Economic numbers in general have been good, and that optimism is following through. It could be a good retail season, and low gas prices are making a difference.”

The latest data shows jobless claims rose unexpectedly in the latest week and topped 300,000 for the first time since early September.

The barometer of US Midwest business activity dropped more than expected in November and consumer sentiment climbed to the highest level in more than seven years, but dropped slightly from preliminary readings.

Reuters quoted Matthew Keator, partner in the Keator Group, a firm for wealth management as having said, “This isn’t enough to derail the rally we’ve been on, because while markets are fairly valued, when you consider the alternatives equities are still the best asset.”

Deere & Co dropped 1.3% to $86.66 after the farm equipment firm forecast drops in equipment sales in the current quarter, hurt by the falling farm incomes and lower prices of corn.

Hewlett Packard Co climbed 3.8% to $39.07 as one of the largest gainers of the S&P just a day after reporting its Q4 results.

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