US stocks defy geopolitics to push higher

GMT 19:07 2014 Saturday ,16 August

Arab Today, arab today US stocks defy geopolitics to push higher

New York Stock Exchange
New York - AFP

A flare-up in tensions in Ukraine on Friday threatened to derail the climb in US stock markets, but traders finally dismissed geopolitics to deliver another week of gains on Wall Street.

The prospects of new US and European involvement in Iraq's domestic war, and Ukraine's claim that it destroyed Russian armored vehicles inside its territory late Thursday, failed to dampen buying.
Nor did dismal second-quarter growth reports from Japan and the eurozone, which underscored the fact that the global economy continues to struggle.
Stocks finished a volatile Friday session mixed, but the week's gains were solid.
The S&P 500 rose 1.2 percent to 1,955.06, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.8 percent to 16,662.91, and the Nasdaq Composite outperformed with a gain of 2.2 percent to 4,464.93.
The end of a modestly good second-quarter earnings season helped the gains. Biotech and chipmakers led the climbs higher for the week, and industrials generally did well.
But also keeping investors focused on equities was the continued flow of data showing little inflationary pressure that would force the Federal Reserve to push up interest rates earlier than the expected timeline, the second half of 2015.
The stronger US economy has brought out more calls from inflation hawks for Fed chair Janet Yellen to speed up the timetable.
But the most recent data, showing prices still well in check and consumer spending flat, suggest the Fed has much more time to continue supporting the economy with its ultra-low benchmark rate.
Friday numbers showed a slowdown in the producer price index to a 1.7 percent annual pace.
"Two months of low inflation should dampen concern the Fed needs to raise rates soon," said Chris Low of FTN Financial.
Indeed, retail giant Walmart's poor second quarter and diminished outlook has analysts glued to August-September back-to-school sales data to understand if that was a blip or will remain an ongoing challenge to growth.
"We are beginning to watch the end of the summer break, which will give an idea of the health of American consumers and their confidence in their income," said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services.
The week saw Berkshire Hathaway set a new landmark for US markets: the Warren Buffett investment house's A shares passed $200,000 for the first time, more than 100 times the value of the next highest-priced shares.
It took less than eight years to double from $100,000 -- with the 2008 market crash in between -- and capped a 7 percent runup since Berkshire's record second-quarter earnings report came out at the beginning of the month.
The coming week will be light on economic data and will mainly be on the state of the housing market.
Investors will be looking to what is said on the Federal Reserve's annual economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on August 21-23.
There, Yellen and European Central Bank head Mario Draghi are expected to update their views on the state of growth and monetary policy trajectory.
The theme is "Re-evaluating Labor Market Dynamics,

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