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S&P 500 Restores 2015 Gain as Stocks Rally Near Year End

Image: S&P 500 Restores 2015 Gain as Stocks Rally Near Year End

Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 04:20 PM

U.S. stocks rose, restoring the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s gain for the year and erasing a monthly decline as retailers and technology shares led a rally in light trading.

Amazon.com Inc. paced gains among retailers for a second day, rising 2.9 percent to a record in post-holiday trading that was 37 percent below the 30-day average for this time of day. Google parent Alphabet Inc. rose 1.9 percent to a record, while Apple Inc. climbed 2.2 percent to bolster technology shares. Pep Boys added 8.8 percent after Carl Icahn raised his takeover offer for the auto-parts chain.

The S&P 500 advanced 1.2 percent to 2,080.86 at 3:12 p.m. in New York, after slipping 0.2 percent Monday in the lightest volume for a full session on U.S. exchanges this year. The gauge surged above its average price during the past 50 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 212.84 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,741.11. The Nasdaq 100 Index surged 1.7 percent, taking its 2015 gain to 11 percent.

“I think today’s early price action is a follow-through on yesterday’s midday rally off the lows,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles. “Most traders are focused on just getting to Thursday and turning the page on an underwhelming 2015 and starting work on 2016 next Monday.”

Tuesday’s activity was a partial reflection of the year, with investors piling into the three top-performing S&P 500 industry groups in 2015 -- consumer discretionary, health-care and technology. Two of the year’s three worst, energy and utilities, were the biggest laggards today.

The benchmark gauge is now up 1.1 percent for 2015, having fluctuated between gains and losses throughout December on the back of the Federal Reserve’s first interest-rate increase in almost a decade. That compares with a 3.6 percent drop this year on the MSCI All Country World Index.

The S&P 500 has wiped out a monthly decline after falling as much as 3.6 percent amid a series of sharp selloffs and rallies in December. If the measure closes the year higher, it will be its fourth consecutive annual gain. The index has risen as much as 3.5 percent in 2015 and dropped 9.3 percent at its low in August.

While policy makers have forecast the pace of future rate increases to be gradual, they also stressed that the path depends on progress in economic data. A report today showed consumer confidence rebounded in December, putting Americans in the mood to shop during the holiday season. Separate data showed home values in 20 U.S. cities rose at a faster pace in the year ended October.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index fell 4.8 percent Tuesday to 16.10. The measure of market turbulence known as the VIX is little changed this month after a 24 percent drop last week briefly erased a gain of as much as 51 percent in December.

All 10 of the S&P 500’s 10 main industries rose, with tech, health-care and consumer discretionary shares increasing at least 1.2 percent. Consumer-staples companies reached an all- time high, propelled by gains in excess of 1.1 percent in Altria Group Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Tech stocks extended a two-day gain, paced by chipmakers. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index gained 1.5 percent. Cypress Semiconductor Corp. jumped 5.7 percent, while Qualcomm Inc. added 2.9 percent after the company announced new Chinese patent license agreements. Meanwhile, SunEdison Inc. has lost 13 percent in two days after the company released a financing update last week.

The Nasdaq Internet Index rallied 1.4 percent to take its 2015 climb to 22 percent. The so-called “FANG” stocks -- Facebook Inc., Amazon, Netflix Inc. and Google’s parent Alphabet -- each rose at least 1.5 percent today.

Consumer companies gained 1.2 percent, while the S&P 500 Retailing Index rose 1.8 percent, on its way toward the highest in three weeks. The measure is also up nearly 27 percent this year, the strongest since 2013. Amazon, Home Depot Inc. and Priceline Group Inc. contributed the most to the group’s rally today, while Kohl’s increased 3.5 percent to approach a three- month high.

Buoyed by a gain in biotech companies, health-care stocks jumped 1.3 percent to the highest level since August. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index climbed 2 percent, rising to a three-month high, as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. added more than 2.3 percent.

Banks rebounded after two days of declines. The KBW Bank Index climbed 1.2 percent, with U.S. Bancorp and Citigroup Inc. rising at least 1.5 percent. Within the broader financial group, Iron Mountain Inc. led with a 3.1 percent increase. The records management company is still down 27 percent this year, the fourth-worst performance in the group.

Energy stocks were led by Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Consol Energy Inc. -- the two worst performers in the benchmark this year -- as they added more than 4.4 percent. Transocean Ltd. climbed 2.8 percent.

Among other companies moving on corporate news, Triumph Group Inc. jumped 19 percent after naming Daniel J. Crowley as chief executive officer, ending a search since April for a new leader for the aerospace parts producer. The shares are on track for their steepest advance in seven years.

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U.S. stocks rose, restoring the Standard Poor's 500 Index's gain for the year and erasing a monthly decline as retailers and technology shares led a rally in light trading.Amazon.com Inc. paced gains among retailers for a second day, rising 2.9 percent to a record in...
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Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 04:20 PM
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