Renewed faith sends Dow to a record high

US STOCKS advanced yesterday, with the Dow closing at a record high on a rally in cyclical shares and as earnings season started to heat up.

With the day’s advance, the S&P 500 again neared its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09, recovering from steep losses last week, the index’s worst of 2013.

The return to near-record levels indicates that investors are again using market declines as buying opportunities. The top sectors of the day, technology and energy, are groups that are closely tied to the pace of economic growth.

“It’s encouraging that we’re seeing cyclical sectors lead the rally. It’s a healthy sign – investors believe the market can continue to run higher,” said Joseph Tanious, global market strategist at JP Morgan Funds.

Among blue-chip technology stocks, Microsoft jumped 3.6 per cent to $29.61 as the Dow’s top percentage gainer.

Intel shares shot up 3.1 per cent to $21.75 while Hewlett-Packard rose 1.3 per cent to $22.22. The S&P technology sector advanced 0.8 per cent while the Philadelphia semiconductor sector gained 0.9 per cent.

An S&P index of energy shares rose 0.8 per cent, climbing alongside a rise of 0.9 per cent in the price of US crude oil, which was up on inflation data from China that reduced concerns about monetary tightening. Halliburton rose 1.8 per cent to $39.11 and Chevron gained 0.7 per cent to $118.64.

The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 59.98 points, or 0.41 per cent, to 14,673.46, a record closing high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 5.54 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 1,568.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 15.61 points, or 0.48 per cent, to close at 3,237.86.

The Dow also touched a record intraday high at 14,716.46