New York Report: Dow and S&P climb to fresh record highs

THE DOW and S&P 500 ended at record highs last night, with the S&P 500 rising above 1,700 after strong data on manufacturing-sector growth and as central banks said they would keep monetary stimulus in place for now.

Stocks were broadly higher, with all 10 S&P 500 sectors in the black, though growth-sensitive financials, industrials and consumer discretionary shares registered the biggest gains. The Dow transportation average rose 3.2 per cent, also closing at a new high.

Google shares, up 1.9 per cent at $904.22, and Apple, up 0.9 per cent at $456.67, were among companies giving the S&P 500 its biggest boost, along with financials. JP Morgan Chase shares gained 1.5 per cent to $56.54 while Bank of America was up 2.4 per cent at $14.95.

Data on weekly US initial jobless claims and national manufacturing came in better than expected. The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity for July rose to its highest level since June 2011.

The benchmark S&P rose to an intraday high of 1,707.85, surpassing 1,700 early in the session after coming close but failing to break above that level on Wednesday.

Global central banks remained accommodative yesterday, with European Central Bank president Mario Draghi reiterating that rates will remain at their present level or lower for an “extended period.”

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 128.48 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 15,628.02, a record close. It also hit a new intraday high of 15,650.69. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 21.14 points, or 1.25 per cent, at 1,706.87, also a new record. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 49.37 points, or 1.36 per cent, at 3,675.74.