S&P 500 Aims for Longest Streak of Record Highs in 20 Years

By Riva Gold Features Dow Jones Newswires

Major U.S. stock indexes head for fresh records

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-- Spanish assets recover

-- Stocks little changed in Asia

U.S. stocks rose Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its longest streak of record closes in 20 years.

The broad index added 0.2%, a day after gains in internet companies helped push the S&P 500 to its seventh straight session of advances. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 25 points, or 0.1%, to 22686, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.3%.

Shares of technology companies, big contributors to this year's rally, continued to help push indexes higher. PayPal Holdings gained 1%, while Netflix rose 2.7%.

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Apple advanced about 1% after the company released a software update that it said addresses some cellular-connectivity issues that have affected its newest smartwatch. Apple suffered its worst month of the year in September after falling 6%.

Shares of Constellation Brands gained 4% after the Corona brewer's results showed strong beer sales.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.337%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.332% on Wednesday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Utilities shares, considered bondlike because of their hefty dividends, were down 0.3%.

U.S. stocks have enjoyed small bumps higher in recent sessions amid signs that the economy remains on track and earnings growth continues to look solid.

Data Thursday showed the number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell in late September, though recent hurricanes continued to disrupt economic activity in several regions. The Labor Department last week also warned the storms will likely affect Friday's monthly employment report.

"Investors understand data will be flipping over the next month due to the impact of hurricanes," said Dave Donabedian, chief investment officer at CIBC Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management. "But I still think there will be rising confidence in the idea that this economic expansion is not over."

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose less than 0.1% after snapping a nine-session winning streak on Wednesday, its longest in more than two years.

Spanish stocks showed signs of recovering, however, with Spain's IBEX 35 index adding 2.4% -- led by gains in utility companies -- after sliding 2.9% Wednesday, its biggest percentage decline in more than a year.

Catalonia set a course toward declaring its secession from Spain as soon as Monday as Catalan President Carles Puigdemont made a televised address in which he took issue with a speech Spain's king made the previous evening admonishing the region's leaders for "inadmissible disloyalty."

"The potential for independence has been really priced out [by investors] as a tail risk with the stance the Spanish government has been taking," said Martin Arnold, strategist at ETF Securities. Even if Catalonia did break off, the euro would likely remain resilient due to strength in the wider eurozone economy, he said.

Investors also eyed minutes of the European Central Bank's September meeting released Thursday, which showed policy makers discussed how to scale back stimulus and argued over reasons for the euro's climb this year.

The euro was recently down 0.3% at $1.1730, while the British pound fell 0.8% to $1.3136. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, rose 0.2%.

--Michael Wursthorn contributed to this article.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2017 10:37 ET (14:37 GMT)