US enjoys late rally as traders shrug off fears

NEW YORK REPORT

US stocks closed higher last night as investors staged a late-day rebound, extending a recent trend of buying on dips and pushing major indexes near all-time highs despite concerns about growth and China’s housing market.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38.16 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 14,127.82 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained seven points, or 0.46 per cent, to 1,525.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 12.29 points, or 0.39 per cent, to end at 3,182.03.

The Dow closed within 40 points of its all-time closing high, recovering from early losses on plans to tighten curbs on China’s housing market, as well as a slowdown in the growth of that country's services sector.

Any slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy could affect US growth, especially commodities and materials, which have a lot of exposure to China.

Industrial and material shares were among the weakest of the day, with Caterpillar off 1.8 per cent at $89.75 and Alcoa down 1.1 per cent at $8.35.

Concerns about budget cuts in the United States and the Eurozone debt crisis also served as reasons for investors to take a breather in the face of technical resistance. Any sign that the $85bn in cuts are beginning to take a toll on the economy could jostle markets.

Google shares touched a lifetime intraday high of $822.84. The dominant internet search company’s stock was up 1.9 per cent at $821.50 at the close.

Retail stocks ranked among the strongest of the day after Deutsche Bank raised price targets on Target and Macy’s.

Target climbed 3.6 per cent to $66.44 while Macy’s rose 2.1 per cent to $41.54. The S&P retail index jumped 1.5 per cent.