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Tech rally helps Wall Street push higher, Nasdaq has record close

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York June 4, 2018. — Reuters pic
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York June 4, 2018. — Reuters pic

Apple shares rose to their highest ever due to investor bets on its annual developers conference and Microsoft impressed with an acquisition, pushing the S&P 500 technology index to a record high, while Amazon.com led consumer stocks higher.

Better-than-expected US jobs data for May was still key to investor optimism as traders turned their focus away from recent trade war fears.

However, while impressed “to see a jobs report so strong late in an economic expansion,” Hooper worried about the US government’s announcement last week of steel and aluminum tariffs for Europe, Canada and Mexico, which ended a two-month exemption.

“The jobs report is looking in the rear-view mirror while the protectionist actions last week will impact the future,” she said. “Investors may be caught off guard if there is a negative impact to economic growth this year from protectionism.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 178.48 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 24,813.69, the S&P 500 gained 12.25 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 2,746.87.

The Nasdaq Composite added 52.13 points, or 0.69 per cent, to reach 7,606.46, a record closing high.

The S&P 500’s technology sector was the benchmark index’s biggest boost with a 0.8 per cent gain.

Apple unveiled its latest operating system iOS 12 at the conference and after paring some gains in the afternoon, it closed up 0.8 per cent.

The consumer discretionary index was the biggest percentage gainer of the S&P’s 11 sectors, with a 1.1 per cent rise, while the energy sector was its biggest loser with a 0.9 per cent drop as oil prices fell on worries about growing US production.

As well as the jobs report, Invesco’s Hooper said falling oil prices were helping sentiment around the consumer sector.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index underperformed the broader market with a 0.7 per cent decline as shares of cancer-focused companies moved after presentations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s meeting.

Nektar Therapeutics tumbled 41.8 per cent and weighed on the index after mixed results from its experimental cancer drug with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo disappointed investors.

Bristol-Myers Squibb ended 3.2 per cent lower.

Merck, however, gained about 2.4 per cent after latest data showed its cancer drug Keytruda improved survival as a stand-alone treatment for a type of lung cancer.

Boeing rose 1.1 per cent, the biggest boost to the Dow, after the planemaker said it would partner with French aerospace firm Safran SA to make and service aircraft parts.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.35-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 46 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 228 new highs and 44 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 6.5 billion shares, compared with the 6.6 billion average for the last 20 sessions. — Reuters

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