Leads For Contractors by Dr. Karl Ruegg » Stocks attempt gains as year’s end approaches, real estate, telecom lead

Stocks attempt gains as year’s end approaches, real estate, telecom lead

Posted by Dr. Karl Ruegg on April 16, 2018

U.S. stocks tried for gains Thursday, the second-to-last trading day of the year.

UnitedHealth and 3M contributing the most to the gains. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent with advances in technology, telecommunications and real estate investment.

Both indexes traded within half a percent of their all-time highs hit on Dec. 18.

Meanwhile the Nasdaq composite traded within 1 percent of its record high hit on that date. The index added 0.1 percent Thursday as declines in biotechnology stocks like Gilead and Amgen offset gains in big technology names like Apple.

“Those that are in [the market] are hoping we might be able to make a new high at the close of the year,” Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth. “I think 2018 is going to be a pretty good year.”

In economic news, the advance trade deficit in goods increased to $69.7 billion in November from $68.1 billion in October. Weekly jobless claims came in at 245,000 versus expectations of 240,000.

The Chicago PMI for December rose to 67.6, its highest since March 2011, according to Reuters.

CNBC’s survey of 14 major market strategists found the median estimate for the S&P 500 in 2017 is 2,590, about 3.5 percent below Thursday’s levels. The median forecast for the S&P 500 next year is 2,850, about 6.2 percent above Thursday’s levels. The S&P has rallied nearly 20 percent this year.

Trading volume has been low this week. U.S. markets were closed Monday for the Christmas Day holiday and will be closed this coming Monday for New Year’s Day.

“I just think there’s money that’s still on the sidelines,” said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “I think people are putting off selling until January because they can put off the gains [until the 2018 tax year]. There’s a lack of sellers.”

Traders gather for the IPO of Singapore-based Sea Limited on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 20, 2017.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Traders gather for the IPO of Singapore-based Sea Limited on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 20, 2017.

Stocks historically tend to post a “Santa Claus” rally in the last week of December through the first two trading days of January. However, as of Wednesday’s close, the Dow was the only major U.S. stock index on pace for slight weekly gains, which would be the index’s sixth straight week. The last time the Dow rose in each of the final six full weeks of the year was in 1954. That does not include weeks encompassing two different years.

If the S&P 500 is able to finish the week higher, the index would close out the year with six straight weeks of higher trade for the first time the since in 1971.

On a monthly basis, the indexes are tracking for gains not seen in decades. The Dow is on pace for its first nine-month winning streak since 1959 and the S&P is on track for its first nine-month winning streak since 1983.

“I think it’s reflective of the fact the economy has definitely shown some improvement,” Pavlik said. “I think the U.S. stock market is reflective of all that [economic growth] along with better earnings and an improvement in sentiment.”

Overseas, major European indexes traded mildly lower. The Shanghai composite gained 0.6 percent, while the Nikkei 225 fell just over half a percent.

The euro strengthened to trade near $1.195 as the U.S. dollar index fell to its lowest since Dec. 1. The dollar index is down more than 9 percent this year, tracking for its worst year since 2003.

Gold futures for February delivery rose to a high of $1,296.60, their highest since Nov. 29.

Source

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/28/us-stocks-open-higher-commodity-price-gains-in-focus.html


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