Wall Street climbs with support from financials, tech stocks

(AFP pic)

NEW YORK: US stocks rose on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average at an all-time high, driven by gains in financial and technology stocks.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher. Financials led with a 0.6% gain, followed by a 0.5% increase in technology stocks.

Italy indicated that it was open to reducing its budget deficit and debt in the coming years, easing concerns over the country’s high debt levels that have pressured global stock markets since the country’s ruling coalition last week tripled the previous government’s deficit target.

US bank stocks rose, with Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America up between 0.6% and 0.7%, mirroring a recovery in their Italian peers.

“Today, so far, has been better-than-expected performance out of Europe,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Antonelli said while Italy was not a gigantic catalyst for the market, but a loss out of Europe has been setting the tone for the U.S. markets.

Among top gainers on the S&P 500 stocks was General Motors, which rose 2.9% after Honda Motor said it would invest US$2 billion over 12 years in the US carmaker’s Cruise self-driving unit.

In another sign of a healthy US economy, data showed US private payrolls recorded their biggest increase in seven months in September, pointing to sustained labour market strength. The stronger-than-expected data comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data on Friday.

At 9:51 a.m. EDT, the Dow was up 109.59 points, or 0.41%, at 26,883.53, the S&P 500 was up 10.82 points, or 0.37%, at 2,934.25 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 28.81 points, or 0.36%, at 8,028.36.

Michael Kors rose 1.6% after Citi upgraded the company’s shares, citing a potential upside from its recent purchase of Italian fashion house Versace.

Intel was up 2.3%. The chipmaker, which rose 3.6% on Tuesday, was among the biggest drivers on the Dow.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.85-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.44-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 20 new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 29 new lows.