Dow Jones records 9th record high in a row

S&P also ended slightly higher as a stronger-than-expected earnings season ended

Traders work at the Closing Bell after the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 22,000 last week. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

Traders work at the Closing Bell after the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 22,000 last week. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPA

 

The Dow edged up to its ninth record closing high in a row while the S&P ended slightly higher on Monday, with consumer and technology sector gains offsetting losses in energy.

Yet trading volume was relatively light as investors had little reason to make big bets with the US Congress and President Donald Trump on vacation and a stronger-than-expected earnings season drawing to a close.

“Today there’s a lack of conviction either way. There’s no reason to be a seller yet and there’s no reason to be a buyer at these levels as earnings season winds down and you don’t have much in the way of economic news this week,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth in New York.

Some investors were looking into underperforming sectors, including retail, anticipating a lift from in-store back-to-school shopping, according to Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

“What you’re really seeing is very minor sector rotation,” said Meckler.

Robust second-quarter earnings have boosted the broader market in recent weeks and a strong July employment report on Friday added to positive sentiment.

Analysts, on average, expect S&P 500 earnings to have expanded 12 per cent in the second quarter and project earnings up 9.3 per cent for the September quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

However, the recent run-up has also sparked concerns about stretched valuations.

The S&P, which is up about 11 per cent this year, is trading at 18 times expected earnings, compared to its 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 25.61 points, or 0.12 per cent, to close at 22,118.42. The last time the Dow had nine straight record closes was in February when it boasted 12 in a row.

In coming days, investors will scrutinize quarterly results from retailers in light of competition from online retailer Amazon. com.

Wal-Mart shares were up almost 1 per cent. Tyson Foods, one of the consumer staples sector’s biggest boosts on the day, rose 5.7 per cent after the No. 1 US meat processor reported greater-than-expected quarterly profit and sales.

The energy sector led the laggards with a 0.9 per cent drop as oil prices edged lower on a rebound in production from Libya’s largest oil field, along with worries about higher output from OPEC and the United States.

-(Reuters)