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The Dow and S&P 500 once again climbed to all-time highs on Wednesday as traders shrugged off weak data and continued bidding up stocks.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 60.4 points, or 0.4%, to 15276, the S&P 500 rose 8.4 points, or 0.51%, to 1659 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 9 points, or 0.26%, to 3472.
Utilities, financials and consumer staples were the best performers on the day. The energy sector was by far the worst performer on the day as commodities swooned. Oil futures initially came under pressure from weak data out of Europe, and then the selloff heated up on a somewhat bearish inventory report from the Energy Department. Oil inventories fell 624,000 barrels, compared to a forecast of a 300,000-barrel build; however, oil stocks swelled by 2.6 million barrels, compared an expected 800,000-barrel draw.
The benchmark U.S. crude contract dipped $1.79, or 1.9%, to $92.44 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline was off by 2% to $2.779 a gallon. In metals, gold sold off $29.80, or 2%, to $1,394 a troy ounce.
Up, Up and Away?
In what is becoming a trend on Wall Street, the Dow and S&P 500 lurched to fresh highs on Wednesday. It was the twentieth record-setting day of the year for the blue-chip average and the fifteenth for the S&P. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq is trading at levels not seen since October 2000 -- during the precipitous drop following dot-com era highs.
Tobias Levkovich, Citigroup's (NYSE:C) top equities analyst, told clients that the markets may yet have some "oomph" left even as the closely-tracked S&P breaks through key resistance points, like 1650 and potentially even 1675. However, Levkovich struck a cautious tone about the Street's trajectory in coming months.
"We would expect some pullback during the summer as fears of a paring back by the Fed, European economic disappointment and a potential debt ceiling fight in the (U.S.) come together," he wrote.
Manufacturing Data Disappoint
The New York Federal Reserve’s regional manufacturing gauge came in at -1.43 in May, down from 3.05 in April, and considerably weaker than expectations of 4. Readings above 0 point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction. U.S. stock-index futures added to losses on the report. A separate report from the Federal Reserve showed U.S. industrial output sliding 0.5% in April, a wider fall than the 0.2% economists forecast.
The Labor Department said producer prices slumped 0.7% in April from March in the biggest drop since February 2010 as energy prices slid. Economists expected a slightly smaller 0.6% dip. Excluding the food and energy components, prices were up 0.1%, matching forecasts.
On the European front, the eurozone's economy shrunk by 0.2% in the first quarter, marking the longest recession in the currency bloc's history, and worse than the 0.1% economists forecast. The two biggest economies -- Germany and France -- continued struggling. Germany's economy grew at a tepid 0.1%, while France contracted by 0.2%.
In corporate news, analysts at Citigroup (NYSE:C) raised Gap (NYSE:GPS) to "buy" from "neutral" and upped their price target by $8 to $48. Macy's (NYSE:M) upped its dividend by 25% as the retailer reported profits and sales that climbed from the year prior.