Rare retail bright spot boosts S&P, Nasdaq to records | Reuters

 Rare retail bright spot boosts S&P, Nasdaq to records
| Reuters

By Tanya Agrawal

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were in record territory in late morning trading on Thursday, buoyed by strong earnings from the embattled retailer sector.Sentiment also got a boost after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting showed policymakers expected the economy to pick up momentum and an interest rate hike would come sooner rather than later.While gains were broad based, the consumer discretionary index's .SPLRCD 0.83 percent surge was easily the highest among the 11 major S&P sectors.Best Buy BBY.O surged as much as 17 percent to a record high of $58.99, making it the top gainer on the S&P, as its comparable sales unexpectedly rose last quarter.Tommy Hilfiger-owner PVH (PVH.N) was second-biggest gainer with a 7 percent jump to a near 6-month high on strong results. Sears (SHLD.O) soared as much as 32 percent after posting its first quarterly profit in nearly two years.Analysts also said the S&P 500 being able to break through and stay above the 2,400 level for the third straight session has also provided technical support.

"Breaking through 2,400 on the S&P 500 is a bit of a technical help, so you're getting the benefit of people coming into the market since that level was such a staunch resistance for so long," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York.At 10:50 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 81.44 points, or 0.39 percent, at 21,093.86.The S&P 500 .SPX was up 11.22 points, or 0.46 percent, at 2,415.61, easing a bit after touching a record of 2,415.86.

The Nasdaq .IXIC was up 36.52 points, or 0.59 percent, at 6,199.54. The index hit an all-time high of 6,202.50.The only S&P index in the red was energy .SPNY, off 0.11 percent as crude oil prices fell after the OPEC agreed to extend output cuts, but not by as much as investors had hoped for. [O/R]Minutes of the Fed's latest meeting, released on Wednesday afternoon, showed that while policymakers backed a rate hike, they also agreed to hold off until it was clear a recent slowdown in the economy was temporary.

Fed officials also proposed a plan to wind down its $4.5 trillion of debt securities, including a limit on how much would be allowed to fall off the balance sheet each month."The Fed reducing the size of their balance sheet over a gradual period rather than doing that all at one time or in larger chunks is a positive," said Pavlik.Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,903 to 806. On the Nasdaq, 1,750 issues rose and 873 fell.The S&P 500 index showed 71 new 52-week highs and four new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 93 new highs and 29 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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Updated Date: May 25, 2017 22:30:05 IST