Tech gains lift S&P 500, Nasdaq to records; Dow slips


The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose to record levels on Friday, buoyed by gains in technology stocks, while each of the major indexes were on track to close out the quarter with solid gains.

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Technology was the best performing of the major S&P sectors, up 0.60 percent, and the index was poised for its fourth straight day of gains to recover from a selloff earlier in the week.

Both the S&P and Nasdaq touched intraday records for the third straight day, with the benchmark S&P index set to post its sixth straight month of gains.

"It has been upwardly biased certainly through the entire month and we are still locked into positive momentum," said Gordon Charlop, a managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York.

"But now we are getting into October and it is always interesting when the fourth quarter rolls around because that is when the volatility comes."

Facebook's 1.15-percent gain provided the biggest lift to both the Nasdaq and the S&P to help pace the advance.

Financials received a brief lift and hit their session high after reports President Donald Trump's met with former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh to discuss his potential nomination as Fed chairman. The sector was last up 0.27 percent.

"Rates and equities have priced in the current Fed regime continuing, which is a relatively sanguine path for the economy," said Shehriyar Antia, chief market strategist at Macro Insight Group in New York.

"Any deviation from that path - or the suggestion that Yellen may not be re-appointed - causes the market to reconsider this presumption and reprice valuations."

Rising expectations for another interest rate hike by the year-end and Trump's tax-cut plan have dominated markets for most of the week.

Data on Friday showed U.S. consumer spending barely rose in August but the report did little to change expectations that the central bank would raise interest rates again in December.

Another report showed the Chicago purchasing management index, which gauges factory activity, came in better than expected for September.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12.43 points, or 0.06 percent, to 22,368.77, the S&P 500 gained 6.78 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,516.84 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.42 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,491.87.

The S&P and the Dow were set to record eight straight quarters of gains, while the Nasdaq was on track for five.

Meat processor Tyson Foods jumped 7.61 percent after the company raised its full-year profit forecast. The stock was the biggest gainer on the S&P.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.47-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.54-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak. Additional Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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