Technology stocks keep markets high
NEW YORK — Technology companies lifted the stock market Wednesday, keeping major indexes at record levels.
Hewlett-Packard surged, leading the gains for tech companies, after it posted a $1.4 billion profit for its latest quarter. The world's second-largest maker of PCs also issued a strong profit forecast for its current quarter.
Stocks also got a boost from some encouraging news about the economy.
In a sign that workers are in less danger of being laid off, the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 316,000, according to the U.S. Labor Department. In another bit of good news, consumer confidence rose in November, according to a private survey by the University of Michigan and financial data company Thomson Reuters.
“Today's economic news was generally favorable,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “In the absence of bad news, the path of least resistance for equities is up.”
The stock market has surged this year on a combination of solid corporate earnings, a slowly recovering economy and easy-money policies from the Federal Reserve. The Fed is buying $85 billion in bonds every month to keep long-term interest rates low, making stocks more attractive than bonds for investors.
On Wednesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed four points, or 0.3 percent, to close at an all-time high of 1,807.23.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at its own record high of 16,097.33. The blue-chip index finished higher for a fifth straight day, its longest winning streak since March.
The Nasdaq composite advanced 27 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,044.75. The index closed above 4,000 for the first time in 13 years Tuesday.
The S&P 500 has risen 26.7 percent this year, putting it on course for its best annual performance since 1998. Much of the gain has come because investors have been willing to pay more for a company's stock in relation to its earnings.
The price-earnings ratio for S&P 500 companies has climbed to 15.1 from 12.6 at the start of the year. But it is still below the average ratio of 16.5 for the last 20 years.
“When times are good, you have to ask if it's a sign that things are about to become bad,” said Art Steinmetz, President & Chief Investment Officer at Oppenheimer Funds. But Steinmetz feels reasonably hopeful that stock valuations “are not overstretched.”
In other corporate news, Analog Devices fell $1.38, or 3 percent, to $48.54 after the chipmaker reported sales late Tuesday that missed Wall Street estimates. The Norwood, Mass., company expects a seasonal slowdown to hurt revenue during the holidays.
Trading volumes were lower than average ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, when financial markets will be closed. The New York Stock exchange and the Nasdaq will also close early on Friday.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.74 percent, up from 2.71 percent on Tuesday.
The price of oil dropped to its lowest level in six months as the U.S. government reported the 10th straight weekly increase in crude supplies. Oil dropped $1.38, or 2 percent, to $92.30 a barrel.
Exxon Mobil and Chevron, both members of the 30-company Dow, declined. Exxon Mobil fell 47 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $93.80. Chevron fell 36 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $122.42.
In other commodities trading, Gold fell $3.60, or 0.3 percent, to $1,237.80 an ounce.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Overhaul possible for West Mifflin’s Century III Mall
- Chevron settles fatal shale well fire lawsuit, state claims for nearly $6M
- No end in sight for casino market saturation in northeastern U.S.
- Google adds HBO access, mobile payment to next version of Android
- UPMC offering buyouts to 3,500 employees in cost-cutting move
- Weak first-quarter economic report anticipated
- Task force to plot ways of easing gas glut in Pennsylvania via pipelines
- Avago Technologies to pay $37 billion for chipmaker rival Broadcom
- Pitt study suggests health law attracting young to balance insurers’ risks
- Asian sell-off, Greece uncertainty rattle Wall Street
- Pittsburgh gasoline prices nearing $3