Consumer Stocks Boost S&P And Nasdaq

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The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were pushed higher by gains in consumer stocks, while investors shrugged off the possibility of another U.S. government shutdown.

Philip Morris, Nike and Home Depot were the main drivers of the S&P, after positive brokerage recommendations on their stocks.  Amazon’s 1 percent gain following increasing its monthly fees for Amazon Prime service helped the Nasdaq.

Lawmakers are coming close to the midnight deadline to pass a bill to fund government operations through to Feb. 16 and prevent federal agency shutdowns this weekend. Although the bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday, it remained uncertain in the Senate.

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“The market appears to be looking through this as a non-essential event, although we’re seeing a little bit of a pickup in volatility in the last couple of days,” said Bill Northey, senior vice president of wealth management.

“Valuations that were somewhat higher are beginning to look more reasonable based on what’s happening to earnings estimate as they are re-evaluated with company guidance and what is being reported,” said Northey.


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At 11:01 a.m. EST, the S&P 500 was up 2.41 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,800.44 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 8.60 points, or 0.12 percent, at 7,304.64. Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors gained, driven by a 0.74 percent gain in the consumer staples index and a 0.4 percent rise in discretionary stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 39.02 points, or 0.15 percent, at 25,978.79, brought down by IBM and American Express due impact of the tax reform.

IBM dropped 3.75 percent despite its first revenue rise in 23 quarters. The company advised that this year’s higher tax rate would reduce its profits.

American Express fell 2.5 percent after reporting its first quarterly loss in 26 years and that it would not buy back shares for the next six months because of the tax reform.

Oil prices fell more than 1 percent with an increase in U.S. production prevailed over the continued declines in crude inventories.

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