News

S&P 500 tops 2,000 for the first time

S&P 500 tops 2,000 for the first time

S&P: The benchmark S&P hit a new intraday record shortly after opening, and pierced 2,000 for the first time within the first hour of trading amid corporate merger activity and growing hopes for more monetary stimulus in European markets. Photo: Reuters

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 vaulted above 2,000 for the first time on Monday, with financials and biotechnology stocks lifting the benchmark index to a new record as investors bet on equities as a preferred asset over bonds.

The significance of the milestone was more psychological than fundamental, and it represents the cumulation of a six-year rally that has boosted retirement accounts for Americans from Wall Street to Main Street, though the gains have largely benefited wealthier Americans. On a total-return basis the S&P 500 has more than tripled from its 2009 low hit during the financial crisis.

The day’s gains were broad, with all 10 of the S&P 500’s primary sectors advancing. About two-thirds of stocks on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq were in positive territory.

“The trend continues to be positive and it’s like fighting a tsunami, it keeps going and going and going and it won’t stop,” said Adam Hewison, president and chief executive at INO.com in Annapolis, Maryland.

The advance comes amid a variety of cautious signals for the economy, including tepid U.S. growth, waning stimulus from the Federal Reserve and a simmering conflict between Ukraine and Russia. In the latest economic data, reads on both the U.S. services sector and the housing market came in below forecasts.

“All the world events are negative; people are just shrugging them off,” said Hewison. “I think we’re going to continue seeing gains.”

Biotech stocks, a primary driver of recent equity gains, continued to outperform on Monday, with the Nasdaq Biotech index <.NBI> up 2.4 percent. Roche Holding AG agreed to buy InterMune Inc for $8.3 billion in cash, the latest vote of confidence in a sector that many, including Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, worry is overvalued.

InterMune jumped 36 percent to $73.00. Gilead Sciences and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals were the S&P 500’s top two biggest percentage gainers, both up 2.5 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 117.81 points or 0.69 percent, to 17,119.03, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 12.94 points or 0.65 percent, to 2,001.34 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 28.52 points or 0.63 percent, to 4,567.07.

Financial shares were among the strongest of the day, rising on expectations that Europe may see more aggressive monetary stimulus. Morgan Stanley , which has heavy exposure to Europe, rose 2.5 percent to $34.29 while Goldman Sachs Group Inc , a Dow component, was up almost 2 percent at $178.90.

U.S. stocks have been strong of late. Major indexes closed a third week of gains Friday, with the Dow and S&P enjoying their best weeks since April.

Burger King is in talks to acquire Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons Inc in a deal that would be structured as a so-called tax inversion transaction to move Burger King’s domicile to Canada, which has lower overall corporate taxes. Shares of Burger King jumped 17 percent to $31.67 while U.S. shares of Tim Hortons advanced 20 percent to $75.23.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum and James Dalgleish)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Netflix drug drama ‘Narcos’ blurs line between cartels, agents

Fresh
11-overlay7

Not all cops are good guys and not all drug suppliers are obvious villains in the dark drug drama "Narcos," a bilingual examination of the history of cocaine smuggling in America and its most menacing supplier.

in Music

VMA Preview: Bieber’s back, Miley hosts

Fresh
13-overlay12

Designer Jeremy Scott says to expect the unexpected when comes to the fashion and the music at Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards.

in Entertainment

The secret to Rob Lowe’s ageless face

17-overlay12

The 51-year-old actor will star in a new series this fall, "The Grinder," and still looks as good as ever.

in Music

Richie Sambora developing TV show

richiesambora

The former Bon Jovie rocker is expanding his resumé by developing a TV show for HBO.

in Music

Nicki Minaj to open Sunday’s VMAs

19-overlay11

The "Anaconda" hitmaker shared a photo of a sonogram featuring a Moonman statue in place of a baby.

Weather

condition Condition: Partly Cloudy
Temperature: 77°
High: 82° - Low: 63°