August 21, 2018 / 5:13 PM / 3 months ago

RPT-The bull that won't die: S&P 500 back at a record after months on ice

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    By Noel Randewich
    SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - After a seven-month stall,
Wall Street's bull market looks back on track, thanks to
Amazon.com, Alphabet and other high-flying
technology and consumer discretionary companies.
    The widely followed S&P 500 stock index rose as much
as 0.57 percent on Tuesday to 2,873.23, putting it above its
previous record high of 2,872.87 on Jan. 26. Bolstered by
quarterly earnings reports and a rise in stock buybacks, the
benchmark S&P 500 has gained over 2 percent in the past month.
    Closing above the January high would mean that the benchmark
index ended a correction on Feb. 8, according to some investors.
    Confirmation that the bull run remains alive comes on the
day the S&P matches its longest rally in history, 3,452 days
between November 1990 and March 2000, according to S&P Dow Jones
indices. On Wednesday, it could claim the title of longest
ever.
    Following its January high, the S&P 500 slumped 10.2 percent
over two weeks, just meeting many investors' definition of a
market correction and raising fears that nearly a decade of
gains on Wall Street might be over.
    Since then, Wall Street has splintered: Small caps have
soared thanks to deep corporate tax cuts, while companies
exposed to global trade have underperformed, with some investors
worried about U.S. President Donald Trump's feud with China and
other trading partners over import tariffs.
    After steep drops in February and March, the S&P 500 inched
slowly back toward record highs as sweeping tax cuts sent
earnings sharply higher and provided cash for companies to buy
back more of their shares.
       
                             
    The benchmark U.S. index is outperforming other major
indexes globally for the year since May, and hasn't looked back.
  
 
    Fueled by Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet
 and other high-growth tech and consumer stocks, the
Nasdaq has surged 14percent in 2018, far outperforming the S&P
500's 7percent rise. 
    "A lot of it is earnings," said Liz Young, Senior Investment
Strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management in New York. "The
technology stocks continue to drive things. We've waited for
that theme to go away but it hasn't." 
    
                             
    The Russell 2000 index of small companies hit its own
record highs on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 materials sector
 this year has lost 2 percent. 

    
 (Reporting by Noel Randewich
Editing by James Dalgleish and Nick Zieminski)
  
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