US markets hit intraday highs ...but end flat - New York Report

THE S&P 500 and the Dow touched intraday records yesterday before pulling back to trade close to unchanged, while strength in semiconductors boosted the Nasdaq.

Equities have been strong of late, with the Dow last week posting its biggest weekly gain since January 2013 and the S&P coming off its biggest two-week jump since December 2011. The gains largely followed strong quarterly results, which have eased concerns over how corporations are faring.

While the market’s momentum is to the upside, near-term trading may be quieter as earnings season draws to a close. With results in from 73 per cent of companies, 75.4 per cent reported earnings above analysts’ expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63 per cent.

General Motors fell 0.9 per cent to $31.12 after October sales missed expectations.

In deal news, Sapient rose 42 per cent to $24.58 on heavy volume after Publicis agreed to buy the digital ad company for $3.7bn in cash. Covance jumped 25.6 per cent to $100.34 after Laboratory Corp of America Holdings agreed to buy the company for $6.1bn. Laboratory Corp fell 7.8 per cent to $100.81 to become the S&P’s biggest decliner.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 24.28 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 17,366.24, the S&P 500 lost 0.24 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 2,017.81 and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.17 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 4,638.91.