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Saturday, 1 March 2014

S&P 500 hits new record


NEW YORK: US stocks on Friday finished mostly higher with the S&P 500 hitting a new record peak, even as the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined on profit taking.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 49.06 points (0.30 per cent) to 16,321.71, while the S&P 500 tacked on 5.16 (0.28 per cent) at 1,859.45, setting a new closing record.

But the Nasdaq shed 10.81 (0.25 per cent) at 4,308.12, stepping back after striking a 14-year high Thursday.
For the entire month of February, the Dow rose 622.86, or 3.97 per cent, its biggest monthly gain since January 2013.
The S&P 500 jumped 76.86 (4.31 per cent) in February, while the Nasdaq powered up 204.24 (4.98 per cent).

"The Nasdaq has been a clear outperformer and you're seeing a number of companies taking it on the chin," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

"They've had a pretty good run," James said. "It's time to take some profits."

Analysts said investors were generally optimistic about growth in the US economy, dismissing recent weak economic data as largely the result of unusually cold winter weather that has depressed economic activity.

Among the Nasdaq companies to see declines were software maker Splunk, which finished 2.9 per cent lower after surging early in the day, and cloud-computing company, which dropped 5.8 per cent after a big rise on Thursday.

Other prominent Nasdaq members also fell, including Facebook (-0.7 per cent), Netflix (-1.5 per cent) and Tesla Motors (-3.1 per cent).

Men's retailer Jos. A Bank Clothiers rejected a $63.50 per-share takeover offer from rival Men's Wearhouse, but agreed to meet to discuss a potential deal. Jos. A Bank rose 3.0 per cent to $62.08, while Men's Wearhouse jumped 6.7 per cent.
Banking giant Citigroup slipped 0.1 per cent after disclosing that it would trim its 2013 earnings by $235 million due to fraud uncovered at its Banamex subsidiary in Mexico.

Retailer Gap Inc. edged 0.2 per cent higher as it boosted its divided by 10 per cent to 88 cents per share in fiscal year 2014.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.66 per cent from 2.64 per cent, while the 30-year slipped to 3.59 per cent from 3.60 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.


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