Stocks Post Modest Gains; Dow Jones’ Winning Streak Continues
Stocks posted modest gains in trading on Wednesday as better than expected retail sales data released earlier in the day lifted investors’ sentiment. The Dow Jones closed at yet another record high on Wednesday, and has now finished higher for nine consecutive trading sessions. This is the first time since November 1996 that the Dow Jones has finished higher for nine straight trading sessions.
The Dow Jones ended the day 0.04% higher at 14,455.28, the S&P 500 ended the day 0.13% higher at 1,554.52, and the Nasdaq ended the day 0.09% higher at 3,245.12.
Transportation sector led the gains in the S&P 500 in trading on Wednesday. The sector closed 0.66% higher. Industrials also edged higher, ending the day 0.45% higher. Basic Materials sector was the worst performer in the S&P 500 today, ending the day 0.85% lower. Energy sector ended the day 0.39% lower.
Among the major gainers in trading today were VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW), which ended the day 8.08% higher at $81.37, Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR), which ended the day 8.79% higher at $15.60, and Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY), which ended the day 8.09% higher at $15.64.
On the economic front, a report released by the Commerce Department showed that retail sales rose 1.1% in February, well above the consensus forecast of a gain of 0.5%. A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that business inventories rose 1% in January. Economists were expecting a gain of 0.4% in business inventories.
European markets ended mostly lower on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 Index in London closing 0.45% lower, and the CAC 40 Index in Paris closing 0.10% lower. Asian markets also ended mostly lower overnight, with the Nikkei 225 Index in Japan closing 0.61% lower, and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong closing 1.46% lower.