The S&P 500 and Dow Jones indexes hit record highs on today, as upbeat earnings reports from companies including Bank of America and Blackrock as well as a strong rebound in March retail sales bolstered hopes of a broader economic rebound.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 57.64 points, or 0.17%, at the open to 33,788.53.
The S&P 500 opened higher by 15.10 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 4,139.76, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 125.39 points, or 0.90 per cent, to 13,983.23 at the opening bell.
“With equities lingering near a record, investors are looking to the earnings season for further catalysts,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
“Expectations of a strong profit rebound have helped markets rally, setting the bar high as reporting gets underway.”
London’s main market was comfortably up by mid-afternoon, boosted by gains in heavyweight mining stocks.
The FTSE 100 had risen 0.58 per cent at midday, and the more domestically-focused FTSE 250 was performing slightly better, up 0.44 per cent.
Miners added 1 per cent to the FTSE 100, providing the biggest boost to the index as they tracked higher metal prices.
Winners & losers
Out of the blocks this morning Shell (A class shares) performed the best, up 3.6 per cent, followed by industrial company Antofagasta, up 2.5 per cent.
At the other end of the scale Legal & General was this morning’s worst performer, down 3.6 per cent, following by wealth manager St James’s Place, down 2.2 per cent.
The worst performers this morning were populated with finance firms, with Standard Life Aberdeen, Hargreaves Lansdown and Lloyds Banking Group also among this morning’s 15 FTSE 100 losers.
Elsewhere Asian shares slipped today, dragged down by Chinese stocks as recent upbeat economic data raised fears of monetary policy tightening, while the dollar index struggled near one-month lows.
Futures for Eurostoxx 50 and Germany’s DAX started in negative territory while E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.2 per cent.
The mood was less positive in Asia where most major indexes were in the red.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 per cent after two straight days of gains. It was last at 690.12, a long way from a record high of 745.89 touched in February.
Japan’s Nikkei pared early gains to finish 0.07 per cent higher while New Zealand’s benchmark index fell 0.9 per cent.
Chinese shares stumbled with the blue-chip CSI300 index down 0.9 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dropping 0.8 per cent.