MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500 Tops 2,500; Dow, Nasdaq Hit Records Ahead Of Fed Meeting

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Gold prices, Japanese yen take a back seat to stocks

U.S. stocks resumed a record run on Monday, with all main three equity benchmarks at all-time highs, as investor appetite for riskier assets improved and concerns over North Korea eased.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 29 points, or 0.1%, to 22,297, led by a 1.2% gain in Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and a 0.8% rise in J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM). The S&P 500 index gained 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,504. Nasdaq Composite Index added 18 points, or 0.3%, to 6,466, setting a fresh intraday day record at 6,467.47.

On Monday, worries about tensions between North Korea and the U.S. seemed to be abating, with investors turning back to equities and other assets seen as riskier.

"Given it wasn't too long ago that it was fretting about North Korea, as well as Donald Trump's (in) ability to deliver on his tax and infrastructure promises--issues that are still very much on the table--it's remarkable that the Dow has risen so aggressively in the past week or so," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in a note to clients.

Wall Street stocks posted sharp gains last week. On Friday, the Dow industrials logged a fourth-straight record close (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-futures-steady-paring-losses-that-came-after-latest-north-korean-missile-2017-09-15) and a sixth-straight gain. At the same time, The S&P 500 index logged a fresh record finish, its 34th of 2017. Weekly gains for those indexes--up 2.16% and 1.58%, respectively--were the best for the Dow and S&P 500 since late 2016 and early 2017.

Check out MarketWatch's Need to know column:When the stock market finally implodes, don't say these 3 charts didn't warn you (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/when-the-stock-market-finally-implodes-dont-say-these-3-charts-didnt-warn-you-2017-09-18)

In a possible contributing factor, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. seeks a "peaceful solution" and wants to "bring North Korea to the table for constructive, productive dialogue," speaking in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation." (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-is-looking-for-a-peaceful-solution-to-the-north-korea-crisis-says-rex-tillerson-2017-09-18)

But in a separate interview, White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday that "all options remain on the table," with regards to pushing Pyongyang to denuclearize (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-again-says-north-korea-must-give-up-nukes-hints-at-military-strike-2017-09-17).

It was largely a sea of green across global stock markets as investors picked up on Friday's investing mood on Monday. In Asia (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asia-pacific-markets-start-the-week-with-gains-2017-09-17), South Korea's Kospi logged its biggest gain since May, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.3%. That's as the Japanese and gold prices, both considered havens in times of geopolitical unease, each pulled back.

Fed in the spotlight: A highlight for this week will be the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting, which wraps up Wednesday.

Investors aren't expecting any changes to interest rates from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, but the central bank is expected to lay the groundwork to start unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Yellen is due to a hold a press conference after the meeting.

Read:Fed to take historic leap into the unknown (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-to-take-historic-leap-into-the-unknown-2017-09-14)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-to-take-historic-leap-into-the-unknown-2017-09-14)And:How much longer this stock-market bull run lasts may depend on the Fed's next move (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-much-longer-this-stock-market-bull-run-lasts-may-depend-on-the-feds-next-move-2017-09-17)

The only major release on Monday is the National Association of Home Builders' index for September, due at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Stocks to watch: Shares of Orbital ATK Inc.(OA) jumped 20% after Northrop Grumman Corp.(NOC) announced a deal to buy its rival defense contractor (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/northrop-to-buy-orbital-atk-for-78-billion-in-cash-2017-09-18) for $7.8 billion in cash. Shares of Northrop Grumman were up 1.6%.

Silver Spring Networks(SSNI) is up 24% after Itron Inc. (ITRI) says it would buy the Internet-of-things company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/itron-to-buy-silver-spring-networks-for-a-25-premium-2017-09-18)for $830 million. The deal represents a 25% premium to shares of Silver Spring from Friday's close.

Nabriva Therapeutics PLC(NBRV) is up more than 83% on a positive trial (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nabriva-therapeutics-stock-jumps-50-premarket-on-positive-trial-of-pneumonia-treatment-2017-09-18)for a pneumonia treatment.

Other markets: European stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-get-a-lift-as-north-korea-tensions-cool-2017-09-18) posted gains across the board. Crude-oil prices struggled (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-struggle-to-hold-onto-gains-2017-09-18).

Read:German election: Who's Merkel up against and what are their chances? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-election-whos-merkel-up-against-and-how-could-they-shape-the-new-government-2017-08-31)

Gold futures slipped $10.60, or 0.8%, to around $1,314 an ounce, while the dollar shot up to an eight week-high of Yen111.32 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-jumps-to-8-week-high-week-against-yen-as-north-korea-fears-fade-2017-09-18) against the Japanese yen.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 18, 2017 09:44 ET (13:44 GMT)