U.S. stocks rise ahead of inflation, retail sales data

Joann Johnston
March 14, 2018

"Even as the markets are looking fairly positive in general, especially south of the border, it's really a very narrowly-focused group of technology stocks that are carrying nearly all of the gains".

USA stocks advanced on Monday, with gains in shares of chipmakers and technology giants helping Wall Street extend last week's rally that was powered by United States jobs data.

General Electric rose 2.2 percent and was the biggest boost to the Dow.

Early gains for the FTSE 100 quickly petered out and it ended the session down 0.1 per cent, missing out on a rally that lifted European stocks, with Germany's DAX up 0.6 per cent.

The advances followed a near 2 percent gain for the main indexes on Friday after data showed sluggish wage growth in February, easing concerns about the Federal Reserve moving too fast on interest rate hikes.

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"It is a quiet day in terms of news and you still have the tariff fears kind of circling in the markets", said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

Traders of USA short-term interest-rate futures kept bets the Federal Reserve will stick to three rate hikes this year.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was lifted in part by further signs of official disapproval of Broadcom Ltd's (AVGO.O) $117 billion bid for US graphics chipmaker Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O).

The S&P 500 posted 61 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 211 new highs and 24 new lows. The S&P 500 index was down 3.55 points to 2,783.02 and the Nasdaq composite index was up 27.51 points to close at another record high of 7,588.32. Wall Street stocks advanced early today, keeping positive momentum from last week's strong jobs report ahead of key data releases on U.S. inflation and retail sales. Lumentum's shares rose 3.8 percent.

Oclaro jumped 25 percent and was the most traded stock after laser and optical fibre specialist Lumentum Holdings said it would buy the optical components producer for US$1.7 billion. Shares in Reckitt Benckiser and tobacco makers British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands fell between 0.4 per cent and 1.9 per cent.

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