S&P 500, NASDAQ and FTSE 100 close at record highs

By Trevor Hoey. Published at May 16, 2017, in Features

Global markets ignored an escalation in political tensions relating to another missile launch by North Korea, as well as a global cyber security attack, also possibly emanating from North Korea, to deliver across-the-board gains in all major US and European indices.

A 2% increase in the oil price was a key driver in the US and Europe, but there is increasing rhetoric among analysts that markets have run ahead of themselves, consistently finding a reason to move forward despite the emergence of issues that would normally have a negative effect.

This was particularly the case in the US where manufacturing data was weak. Economic data coming out of China also provided additional support to the theory that the economy is slowing.

However, there is a mix of opinions amongst analysts on this issue with some of the view that it is simply an ‘easing’ which should not be of concern, particularly in light of the fact that the manufacturing giant should be generating substantially more from services industries in the future.

Looking at the key numbers, the S&P 500 closed at a record high of 2402 points, while the NASDAQ gained 0.4% to notch up another record close of 6149 points. Cyber security stocks were in demand with the likes of Nvidia Corp and Symantec Corporation delivering strong share price increases.

While the Dow hit 21,000 points in intraday trading, it closed just shy of this market at 20,981 points.

UK and European shares were boosted by the oil price and good performances from mining companies such as Antofagasta plc and BHP Billiton.

The FTSE 100 closed at a record 7454 points.

Mainland European markets also performed well with the DAX gaining 0.3% to close at 12,807 points. The Paris CAC 40 was up 0.2% to 5417 points, only 25 points shy of the long-term high that it struck leading up to the elections.

Aside from oil, the commodities space was fairly quiet with little movement in the gold price as it closed at US$1230 per ounce.

Iron ore was only down marginally, closing just below US$61 per tonne.

Base metals were mixed with copper being the standout performer as it gained nearly 1% to close at US$2.53 per pound, its highest close since plunging from US$2.60 per pound at the start of the month.

Zinc also gained nearly 1% to close at US$1.16 per pound, while lead was relatively flat closing just below US$0.97 per pound.

Nickel was the only base metal to finish in the red, but the decline was fairly marginal, and it continues to hover in the vicinity of US$4.20 per pound.

The Australian dollar has strengthened considerably against the US dollar since Thursday, pushing up towards US$0.745 last night before closing at US$0.741.

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