US stocks hold near record levels as PTSB slumps


US stocks held at fresh records in early trading yesterday, with technology shares pacing gains, as investors awaited the next developments on trade. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
US stocks held at fresh records in early trading yesterday, with technology shares pacing gains, as investors awaited the next developments on trade. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

US stocks held at fresh records in early trading yesterday, with technology shares pacing gains, as investors awaited the next developments on trade.

The pound rallied after the European Union revived hopes of a Brexit deal before the UK exits the common area in March.

The S&P 500 Index churned near 2,900, a level it first breached on Tuesday, as Amazon and Alphabet rose following an upbeat report from Morgan Stanley Data that showed strength in the American economy bolstered the dollar. Emerging-market assets were under pressure and Treasuries edged higher.

Earlier, shares in Japan and Australia set the pace as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed, though stocks in China dropped.

The euro weakened after the Italian government was reported to be hoping for a new programme of European Central Bank bond purchases.

Investors appear to lack some conviction as the Northern hemisphere’s traditional holiday period grinds to a close.

US stocks remain at an all-time high, while the rest of the world has been playing a gradual game of catch-up. However risks abound, from legal threats to President Trump’s administration and turmoil in emerging markets to ongoing trade tension between the world’s major economies.

“We don’t know where China is on this,” David Ader, chief market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence, said on Bloomberg Television. “I tend to be more pessimistic that we are going to come away with trade deals that are going to make everybody satisfied, but we are trading headlines, we are trading the sensitivity to those headlines, so for the moment it looks good.”

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar dropped with bond yields as expectations for central bank interest-rate increases were slashed. Emerging-market currencies retreated as Turkey’s lira fell a third day.

In Dublin, the Irish index of Irish shares was up just under 0.5pc at 3:18pm yesterday. Aryzta, Cairn Homes and CRH were among the gainers, while on the other side of the board Permanent TSB was down almost 4pc despite announcing a boost in pre-tax profits yesterday.

Dalata was down 1.3pc after announcing it had agreed to spend €100m to buy a hotel in London. (Bloomberg)

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