Wall Street Off To A Strong Start

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On the first trading session of 2018, Wall Street’s major indexes gained. Mainly driven by technology and consumer discretionary stocks, setting the precedent for a new year of solid gains for equities.

Last year, the major stock indexes recorded their best performances since 2013 and are the rally is predicted to continue, supported by the corporate tax cut and strengthening economy.

“It is seasonally a very good time for equities as new money comes into work,” said John Brady, senior vice president at futures brokerage. Brady added, “It seems as if most economists have raised their GDP forecast for 2018, and we’re going to get some form of a fiscal stimulus into an economy that has a tight labor market. The market is pricing all of this in”.

Improvements in Alphabet, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft all drove the technology index higher. It was the best performing index of all the sectors, gaining 36.9 percent in 2017.

“People are back to looking at what have been the winners. It has been very momentum driven,” said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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The S&P consumer discretionary index gained 1.16 percent, pushed by Walt Disney’s 1.8 percent increase and a 4.6 percent increase in Netflix following its upgrade to “outperform” by broker Macquires. Discovery Communications, Twenty-First Century Fox and Comcast also contributed to the gain in the index.

Oil prices slightly fell but stayed close to their mid-2015 highs with anti-government rallies persist in Iran as well as the ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia. Gold and copper prices continued their rally, while the dollar index reached its weakest level since September.

At 10:50 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 61.97 points, or 0.25 percent, at 24,781.19 and the S&P 500 was up 16.91 points, or 0.63 percent, at 2,690.52. The Nasdaq Composite was up 79.83 points, or 1.16 percent, at 6,983.22.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,951 to 831. On the Nasdaq, 2,097 issues advanced and 730 declined.

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