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US Dow closes at record high, S&P & Nasdaq struggles

Capital Market 

The US stocks ended mixed for second straight session on Wednesday, 17 February 2021, with the broader Nasdaq and the S&P 500 sliding into negative territory, while the Dow managed to hold onto a modest gain. The mixed trade on Wall Street came following the release of a batch of largely upbeat U. S. economic data, which painted a positive picture of the economy but also added to recent inflation concerns.

At the close of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index advanced 90.27 points, or 0.29%, to 31,613.02. The S&P500 index fell 1.26 points, or 0.03%, to 3,931.33. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 82.00 points, or 0.58%, to 13,965.50.

Shares of technology companies led losses on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Apple Inc, PayPal Holdings Inc and Nvidia Corp weighed most on both indexes. Conversely, energy sector lead gains among S&P 500 sectors as a halt in Texas oil production boosted crude prices. A strong rebound in U. S. retail sales helped consumer discretionary stocks.

ECONOMIC NEWS REPORTS: US NAB Homebuilder Confidence Up Marginally In February- US homebuilder confidence Index inched up to 84 in February after falling to 83 in January, the National Association of Home Builders revealed in a report on Wednesday.

The NAHB said the unexpected uptick in homebuilder confidence came as strong buyer demand helped offset supply chain challenges and a surge in lumber prices. The modest increase by the housing market index came as the gauge charting traffic of prospective buyers rose to 72 in February from 68 in January. The index gauging current sales conditions held steady at 90, while the component measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell to 80 in February from 83 in January.

Fed Participants Describe Economy Far From Achieving Goal Of Maximum Employment- The minutes from US Federal Reserve January meeting showed participants described the economy as "far from" achieving the Fed's goal of maximum employment. Participants observed that "even with a brisk pace of improvement in the labor market, achieving this goal would take some time." The Fed said participants generally acknowledging that the medium-term outlook for real GDP growth and employment had improved but continue to see elevated uncertainty surrounding that outlook. "Participants noted that economic conditions were currently far from the Committee's longer-run goals and that the stance for policy would need to remain accommodative until those goals were achieved," the minutes said. They added, "Consequently, all participants supported maintaining the Committee's current settings and outcome-based guidance for the federal funds rate and the pace of asset purchases." The minutes said various participants highlighted the importance of the Fed clearly communicating its assessment of progress toward its longer-run goals well in advance of when it could be judged substantial enough to warrant a change in the pace of purchases.

US Retail Sales Rebound In January- US retail sales spiked by 5.3% in January after sliding by a revised 1% in December, the Commerce Department reported on Wednesday. Excluding a 3.1% jump in sales by motor vehicle and parts retailers, retail sales still soared by 5.9% in January after tumbling by a revised 1.8% in December. The report said sales by department stores skyrocketed by 23.5%, while sales by electronics and appliance stores, furniture and home furnishings stores and non-store retailers also saw double-digit growth. Significant sales growth was also seen at a variety of other stores, including gas stations, which saw sales shoot up by 4% amid the recent spike in gasoline prices. Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, also surged up by 6% in January after plunging by 2.4% in December.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Thu, February 18 2021. 10:15 IST