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The recent stock market rally loses momentum, but S&P stays above 2,000

The rally that propelled the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above a record 2,000 lost a little bit of momentum Wednesday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 point to 2,000.12, with about the same number of stocks rising as falling. About 4.2 billion shares changed hands across U.S. exchanges, the lowest volume since July 3, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

“The market is not overly expensive, not cheap either,” Ethan Anderson, senior portfolio manager at Rehmann Financial in Grand Rapids, Mich., said by phone. His firm oversees $1.5 billion. “In the absence of strong corporate earnings, you are not necessarily going to see a huge surge in equities over the next 12 months. But the little notch up, on a regular basis, you’re likely to see continue.”

Global markets are surmounting crises in Ukraine, the Gaza Strip and Iraq as investors renew bets that stimulus will revive growth. Rallies from Brazil to Japan and the U.S. gauge’s first trip above 2,000 have sent the value of global equities to a record $66 trillion.

The S&P 500 is up almost 5 percent since Aug. 7, boosted by speculation the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low as the economy strengthens. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has also signaled policy makers may consider introducing an asset-buying plan.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 15.31 points to 17,122.01. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.02 points to 4,569.62.

The Dow is 16 points shy of its record closing high set July 16. The Nasdaq is still well below its dot-com era record.

Major U.S. indexes are riding a three-week streak of gains and are up for the year.

Investors have been encouraged in recent weeks by strong corporate earnings and data that points to a strengthening economy after a sluggish start to the year. The trend has helped extend a five-year bull market, lifting indexes to new records this year.

It’s likely that trading will continue to thin further in the next couple of days as more investors get in vacation mode for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

“In the U.S., you’re seeing businesses do very well,” Doug Foreman, chief investment officer at Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management in Los Angeles, said in a telephone interview. His firm oversees about $9 billion. “We’re in a situation where there are still some macro risks, but they’re overwhelmed by the micro, which is surprisingly good.”

Tiffany & Co. added 1 percent after posting second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its earnings forecast for the year as higher prices boosted revenue.

Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. tumbled 14 percent after the gunmaker cut its full-year sales and profit forecast amid declining demand. Chico’s FAS Inc., a women’s clothing retailer, slumped 4.6 percent on lower-than-estimated sales.

Michaels Cos. jumped 9.3 percent as the arts and crafts retailer reported second-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates. Express Inc. increased 13 percent after the apparel chain raised its profit forecast.

“U.S. markets continue to defy geopolitical worries,” Richard Hunter, the head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London, wrote in an email.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.