Encouraging signals from central bankers helped lift U.S. stocks in morning trading Monday, propelling the Standard & Poor’s 500 index above 2,000 points for the first time. Investors cheered comments from central bankers that suggested continued support for the economy.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 12 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,000 as of 11:15 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average added 109 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,110. The Nasdaq composite rose 27 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,565.
RECORD TERRITORY: The S&P 500, a widely followed barometer of the U.S. stock market, crossed above 2,000 in the first hour of trading Monday.
“Closing above that level is going to be the big test,” said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. “The S&P 500 overall is a sea of green, which is a great thing to see for those who are bullish.”
HOUSING STUMBLE: The Commerce Department said sales of new U.S. homes slid 2.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 412,000. That’s down from an upwardly revised June rate. New home sales have struggled to gain traction this year, held back by modest wage growth, a bump in mortgage rates and rising home prices. Several homebuilder stocks turned lower after the report came out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time, led by Meritage Homes with a decline of 40 cents, or about 1 percent, to $41.26.
STIMULUS TALK: European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled in a speech Friday that the bank is considering asset purchases to pump more money into Europe’s economy, though he gave no guidance on if or when that would happen. Hopes of stimulus in France were boosted by President Francois Hollande’s dissolution of his government after an open feud in his Cabinet over the country’s stagnant economy.
UNDER PRESSURE: A big shareholder in Ann, the parent company of Ann Taylor and Loft clothing chains, is putting public pressure on management to explore selling the company. The campaign drove Ann shares up $2.29, or 6.1 percent, to $39.81 in morning trading.
DONUT KING?: Burger King rose $4.43, or 16.5 percent, to $31.56 on news the fast-food chain is in talks to acquire doughnut chain Tim Hortons and create a new holding company headquartered in Canada, a move that could shave its tax bill.
SECTOR WATCH: All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, with financials leading the pack. Morgan Stanley rose the most in the index, adding 99 cents, or about 3 percent, to $34.45. Intuit fell the most, losing $1.94, or 2.3 percent, to $81.63.
OVERSEAS MARKETS: Germany’s DAX advanced 1.6 percent, while France' CAC 40 rose 1.9 percent. British markets were closed for a holiday. Markets in Asia were mixed, with Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225, South Korea’s Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng each notching gains Monday, while China’s Shanghai Composite index and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 each declined.
BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held at 2.40 percent in morning trading. Benchmark U.S. crude for October delivery fell 31 cents to $93.65 a barrel in New York.