S&P 500, Nasdaq end at records as technology shares gain; Nikkei, HangSeng index down

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq added to records Tuesday, with technology shares leading the way following strong earnings from Netflix.

The tech-rich Nasdaq ended at a record for the third straight session, gaining 0.7 percent to reach 7,460.29 at the closing bell.

The broad-based S&P 500 also finished at a the third straight all-time high, gaining 0.2 percent to 2,839.13. But the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a hair to 26,210.81.

The latest records come amid a corporate earnings reporting season that has featured expectations for higher profits in the wake of US tax cuts enacted in December.

“What we're really seeing is confidence build from companies and from consumers,” said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Associates.

Netflix was the day's biggest earnings winner among prominent companies, surging 10 percent after reporting better-than-expected gains in its global subscriber base and a quarterly profit that nearly tripled from a year ago.

The results were propelled by popular original programs such including “The Crown” and “Stranger Things.”

The Netflix report also raised confidence in other technology companies that will report results in the coming weeks. Amazon, Facebook and Priceline all gained at least two percent.

But members of the blue-chip Dow index reporting profits had a mixed day, with Travelers surging 5.0 percent, Johnson & Johnson losing 4.3 percent, and Procter & Gamble shedding 3.1 percent. General Electric, which reports Wednesday morning, jumped 4.5 percent.

Kimberly Clark, which makes Kleenex and Huggies paper products, gained 0.8 percent after announcing it would cut up to 5,500 jobs worldwide in a cost-cutting effort.

Toymakers Mattel surged 10.4 percent and Hasbro 4.1 percent. The two companies periodically have been seen as potential merger partners.

Hong Kong stocks dip in opening trade

Hong Kong stocks edged down in early trade on Wednesday after chalking up a string of record highs since last week, with investors cashing profits.

The Hang Seng Index fell 0.10 percent, or 33.49 points, to 32,897.21.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.20 percent, or 6.98 points, to 3,553.48 but the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, edged down 0.10 percent, or 1.87 points, to 1,949.12.

Tokyo stocks open lower as yen firms

Tokyo stocks opened lower on Wednesday despite rallies on Wall Street as Japanese exporters were weighed down by a stronger yen against the dollar.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.40 percent or 97.32 points to 24,026.83 in early trade while the broader Topix index was down 0.30 percent or 5.69 points at 1,905.38.

The dollar fetched 110.16 yen in early Asian trade, down from 110.32 yen in New York due partly to worries over US protectionism as Canadian, US and Mexican negotiators kicked off a fresh round of talks on the NAFTA free trade pact sealed in 1994.

“The Japanese market is seen dominated by selling as the yen strengthened against the dollar,” Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

“But shares may move into positive territory as investors' risk-on sentiment has been strengthening,” it added.

Sony dropped 3.15 percent to 5,550 yen after a brokerage firm downgraded its outlook on the stock.

Toyota was down 0.59 percent to 7,694 yen and Nissan was down 0.12 percent at 1,174.5 percent but their smaller rival Mazda was up 0.22 percent at 1,590 yen after a report said it plans to make electric vehicles with major Chinese automaker Changan Automobile.

In New York, all three major indices closed at records amid a corporate earnings reporting season that has featured expectations for higher profits.

Posted on: 2018-01-24T10:28:00+05:00