* JPMorgan lifts S&P 500 year-end target to 1,715
* Nasdaq closes at highest since October 2000
* JCPenney shares drop after earnings
* Tableau Software surges in first day of trade
* Dow up 0.8 percent, S&P 500 up 1 percent, Nasdaq up 1
By Leah Schnurr
NEW YORK, May 17 U.S. stocks continued their
climb into uncharted territory on Friday, racking up the fourth
week of gains in a row as encouraging economic data prompted
investors to pick up shares of growth companies.
The Dow and the S&P 500 finished at fresh record highs,
driven by gains in energy and industrial shares. The indexes
have pushed to a series of never-before-seen levels as part of
the rally that has lifted equities more than 16 percent for the
year so far.
In a sign of how far the market has come, the S&P 500 is
also about 1,000 points above the low hit in March 2009 in the
wake of the credit crisis and recession.
"It's hard to hold this market down," said Michael Sheldon,
chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport,
Data showed Americans felt better about their economic and
financial prospects in early May, with consumer sentiment at its
highest in nearly six years, while a gauge of future economic
activity rose in April to a near five-year high.
"If you believe the economy is going to gradually get better
and that global growth will improve, the parts of the market
that have not benefited so far, like cyclicals, will probably be
the next group to outperform," Sheldon said.
Boeing shares led the S&P 500's industrial sector
index higher with a 2.4 percent advance to $98.92, its
highest since October 2007. The S&P industrial index rose 1.4
The S&P energy sector Index gained 0.8 percent, with
Exxon Mobil up 1.2 percent at $91.76.
The rate of growth in the U.S. economy has been expected to
slow in the second quarter as tighter fiscal policy starts to
bite. But recent improvement, including in the labor market and
retail sales, has suggested the recovery remains resilient.
As slow as it is, "we are still recovering," said Doreen
Mogavero, CEO of Mogavero, Lee & Co in New York. "The U.S.
(market), for all its woes, is still the best place to be at
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 121.18
points, or 0.80 percent, to close at a record 15,354.40. The
Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 15.65 points, or 0.95
percent, to end at a record 1,666.12. The Nasdaq Composite Index
climbed 33.72 points, or 0.97 percent, to finish at
3,498.97 - its highest close since October 2000.
Earlier in the session, the Dow touched an all-time intraday
high at 15,357.40, while the S&P 500 rose to a record intraday
high at 1,667.38.
For the week, the Dow advanced 1.6 percent, while the S&P
500 climbed 2 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.8 percent.
For the year so far, the Dow has climbed 17.2 percent, while
the S&P 500 has gained 16.8 percent and the Nasdaq has advanced
JPMorgan raised its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,715
from 1,580, implying a gain of just under 3.5 percent for the
index for the rest of the year.
"We realize investors are apprehensive about making fresh
money purchases, but we see the risk/reward as particularly
attractive in Technology, Healthcare, and Financials," said the
client note from JPMorgan's U.S. equity strategist Thomas Lee.
General Motors Co shot up 3.2 percent to $33.42 after
CLSA raised its rating on the automaker's stock to "buy" from
JCPenney shares lost 4.2 percent to $18.01 after the
retailer reported another steep quarterly loss on weak sales and
heavy clearance deals, and Chief Executive Myron Ullman
cautioned he needs time to fix the company's problems.
Tableau Software surged in its first day of trading
as investors bet the rising interest in big data will drive the
data analysis software maker's growth. Tableau surged 63.7
percent to $50.75.
S&P Dow Jones Indices said after the close on Thursday that
S&P MidCap 400 component Kansas City Southern
will replace Dean Foods Co in the S&P 500. Kansas City
Southern shares gained 0.8 percent to $117.16, while Dean Foods
rose 1.8 percent to $20.95.
Aruba Networks Inc plunged 25.6 percent to $13.10
after the network equipment maker released fourth-quarter
results well below Wall Street's expectations, hurt by rising
competition from Cisco Systems Inc.