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US: Dow, S&P 500 end at record highs; transports jump

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 06:24
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[NEW YORK] The Dow and S&P 500 extended their run of record high closes for a fourth session on Monday, led by transportation and healthcare shares.

The Dow Jones transportation average jumped 1.3 per cent, also closing at a record high, led by railroads and airlines. Union Pacific rose 1.8 per cent to US$120.90, among the top gainers on the S&P 500, while JetBlue jumped 4.2 per cent to US$13.09.

Results late Friday from Berkshire Hathaway showed profit from the BNSF railroad rose about 5 per cent. Berkshire's Class B shares added 1 per cent to US$145.05.

Oil prices extended recent losses, with US crude below US$78 a barrel, helping airlines and some consumer names. "We're making new highs, volatility is low and that suggests investors are complacent enough to buy stocks at those highs. Interest rates are still low, oil prices are low and everything looks conducive to more strength between now and the end of the year," said John Kosar, director of research with Asbury Research in Chicago.

S&P health care climbed 1 percent, led by Abbvie, up 3.7 per cent at US$63.79, the biggest percentage gainer in the S&P 500.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 39.81 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 17,613.74, the S&P 500 gained 6.34 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 2,038.26, and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.08 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 4,651.62.

The third-quarter earnings season has nearly ended, but a handful of high-profile retailers have yet to report. Wal-Mart, due to report Thursday, climbed 0.9 per cent to US$79.44.

The Dow and S&P 500 have each risen more than 7 per cent over the past three weeks, the best three-week performance for both indexes since October 2011. "International investors are finding solace in US stocks because it's a way to benefit from the rising dollar," said Robbert Van Batenburg, director of market strategy at Newedge USA LLC in New York.

Cable providers' shares fell after US President Barack Obama said the Federal Communications Commission should reclassify broadband to regulate it more like a public utility. Comcast lost 4 per cent to US$52.95 and was among the most actively traded Nasdaq stocks. Time Warner Cable fell 4.9 per cent to US$136.50.

On the Nasdaq 100, the largest gainer was Baidu, up 4.7 per cent at US$247.58, while the largest decliner was Charter Communications, down 6.2 per cent at US$146.62.

The CBOE Volatility index ended down 3.4 per cent at 12.67, its lowest in nearly two months.

About 6.1 billion shares traded on US exchanges, below the 7 billion average this month, according to BATS Global Markets.

REUTERS