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Markets Right Now: Dow, S&P 500 notch record highs

17 September 2017

The Dow Jones was nearly unchanged, up by just 0.06% at 22,172, while the wider S&P 500 index fell 0.14% to 2,494.

The gauge ended a year ago at 2,238.83, sailing past 2,300 on February 9 and crossed 2,400 three months later.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 4.61 points, or 0.2 percent, to a record 2,500.23. The tech-rich Nasdaq was up 19.38 points (0.30 per cent) to 6,488.47. Stocks briefly regained traction after the S&P 500 touched Wednesday's low and West Texas intermediate oil futures popped above $50 per barrel, but the momentum evaporated leaving the S&P and Nasdaq to retreat, while the Dow stayed propped up by Boeing.

"Investors are keeping an eye on the retail sales data, thinking it maybe transitory and are focusing on growth areas such as technology, which is mostly immune to policy decisions in DC and has avoided all the global noise", said Michael Antonelli, managing director of institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

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TRADER TALK: "Risk-off sentiment is at the front and center of markets once again with North Korea's latest missile firing", said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.

The Nasdaq was supported by semiconductor stocks. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was up 2.1%.

The strength in chip makers offset weakness in Oracle Corp.(ORCL), which fell 6.4% after the software giant's outlook late Thursday ( came in below Wall Street's expectations.

Following the mixed performance seen in the previous session, stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Friday.

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Geopolitical concerns may also weigh on the markets on news North Korea launched an unidentified missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. "Control retail sales (excludes sales at food services and drinking places, gasoline stations, building materials and auto stores) which factor directly into GDP fell 0.2% m/m in August, after a strong 0.6% gain in the prior month and are running just 1.3% (annualized) above the Q2 pace", the German bank added. Separately, the Empire State factory gauge hit 24.4 in September, down slightly. Prices paid by consumers jumped in August, which could be a sign inflation is increasing, but it's not clear how much of a role Hurricane Harvey played in the change.

"Valuations are stretched, but I don't believe we're in bubble territory. The market can go a lot higher", Morris said. The index's intraday high was recorded at 22,275.

-Victor Reklaitis and Sue Chang contributed to this article.

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