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Wall Street: Stocks losing momentum today

Bloomberg News

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

The S&P 500 fell 0.07 point, less than 0.1 percent, to 1,999.95 at 2:29 p.m. with about the same number of stocks rising as falling. Trading volume was 29 percent below the 30-day average at this time of day.

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 market is not overly expensive, not cheap either,” Ethan Anderson, senior portfolio manager at Rehmann Financial in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 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.”

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 U.S. equity benchmark has seen gains in 10 of the past 13 days. It trades at 18 times the reported earnings of its companies, near the highest level since 2010.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 16.89 points to 17,123.59 today. The Nasdaq Composite Index, which has fallen only once since Aug. 13, was little changed. Among industries in the S&P 500, telephone and utility stocks had the biggest gains, while energy, financial and technology shares fell the most.

“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 1.3 percent as affluent customers continued spending even as the luxury jewelry retailer increased prices. 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 percent on lower-than-estimated sales.

Michaels Cos. jumped 8.3 percent as the arts and crafts retailer reported second-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates. Express Inc. increased 14 percent after the apparel chain raised its full-year profit forecast.

Best Buy Co., the world’s largest electronics chain, rose 5.4 percent after posting second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates, helped by lower costs.

For more information, see The Buffalo News markets page.