New York Report: US indexes see sixth straight quarter of gains

THE S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indexes wrapped up a sixth straight quarter of gains yesterday, a streak not seen in more than 14 years.

The three major US stock indexes, however, closed little changed for the day, following a set of mixed economic data.

After the S&P 500’s 30 per cent gain last year, many investors had expected a halt to an equity bull market that is now in its fifth year.

But the Nasdaq has now recorded its longest streak of quarterly gains since 2000. For the S&P 500, this is the best run of quarterly gains since 1998. The Dow also marked its fifth positive quarter of the last six.

“We are overextended in the short term, and I do see a bit of a near-term correction, but the dips are seen as opportunities to put cash to work,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research in Austin, Texas.

The S&P 500 set 22 record closing highs so far this year, which has increased concerns among some investors that the market might be due for a technical pullback. Yet the CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, has held near multi-year lows. The VIX ended yesterday at 11.57, up 2.8 per cent.

A recent Reuters poll showed market participants expect the benchmark S&P 500 to hit 2,000 for the first time before the year ends.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25.24 points or 0.15 per cent, to 16,826.60. The S&P 500 dipped 0.73 of a point, or 0.04 per cent, to 1,960.23. The Nasdaq Composite added 10.25 points or 0.23 per cent, to 4,408.18.