US stocks advanced to new heights as slower growth in hiring will reflect on Federal Reserve stimulus reduction and took the annual advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index within a percentage point of the best yearly gain in a decade.
The S&P 500 added 0.6% to 1,754.67 at 4 p.m. in New York after close at a record yesterday, raising its 11 month gain to 23%. The benchmark index would have to reach 1,761 to surpass the 23.5% surge in 2009 and be poised for the largest annual rise since 2003, when it climbed 26.4%. American stocks have rallied amid $85 billion in monthly bond purchases by the Fed aimed at forcing the economy. Nasdaq technology index added 0.2% to 3,929,57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 75.46 points, or 0.5%, to 15,467.66 today, the highest in a month. About 6.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 17% higher than the three-month average.
According to analysts, the budget lock down has hurt fourth-quarter growth and would prompt Fed policy makers to wait until March before starting to decrease the $85 billion of monthly bond purchases.
A report on Tuesday showed construction spending in the U.S. soared in August for a fifth consecutive month, triggered by the strongest outlays on home building in five years. Federal spending dropped to the lowest level in five years, showing government budget cuts will hold the industry back.
Investors are also watching corporate earnings to gauge the health of the economy. Analysts have raised their forecasts for profits in the third quarter, predicting an average increase of 2.5% for all companies in the gauge, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a 1.7% projection at the beginning of the month.
Non-farm payrolls rose by 140,000 which came short of the expectations for 180,000. However unemployment rate fell to 7.2% from estimated 7.3%.
In corporate news, Walt Disney Co., the world’s largest entertainment company, rose 2.1%, the most in the Dow, to a record $69. Alcoa Inc., the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, jumped 8.8% to $9.36 for the largest advance in two years.
Apple lost 0.3% to $519.87, declining as much as 2.6% during the day after erasing an earlier gain. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, facing two straight quarters of declining profit and a stock that’s down by more than a quarter from a September 2012 record, updated the company’s lineup of iPads at an event today.
Netflix added 9.2% to $322.52. Shares of the world’s largest online subscription-streaming service have more than tripled this year for the best performance in the S&P 500 as of yesterday. Netflix’s valuation is “difficult to justify,” Bank of America Corp. said in a note. The stock jumped as much as 9.6% earlier today, after profit beat analyst estimates.