Dow Jones advances to new record

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a record as investors bet that the latest economic and jobs reports will confirm weak growth and prompt the US Federal Reserve to maintain its monetary stimulus into the new year.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.62 per cent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.27 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.2 per cent.

Earlier in the day the Dow rose as high as a record 15,732.88. Gains in shares of Microsoft, last up 3.7 per cent, and those of Chevron, last up 2 per cent, paced the Dow's advance.

In a sign of confidence in the overall outlook, companies are taking advantage of investors' willingness to take risk. According to Thomson Reuters data, if all 13 scheduled initial public offerings-including Twitter-price this week, it will be the busiest week of the year in terms of number of primary issues, as well as the most brisk week since September 2007.

"We're over the period where the market is lifting all boats," Michael Binger, senior portfolio manager for Gradient Investments in Arden Hills, Minnesota, told Bloomberg News. "The economy is growing at a mediocre rate. Tapering news is put on hold.

The latest American corporate earnings have proven decent including those of Ralph Lauren, pushing its shares up 4.5 per cent. However, there have been disappointments too including Tesla Motors today, sending its stock down 15.7 per cent.

While today's data was better than expected, with the Conference Board's index of US leading indicators rose 0.7 per cent in September, this week's GDP and payrolls releases are expected to dampen enthusiasm about the world's biggest economy.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index rose 0.4 per cent, closing at its highest level since May 2008.

Germany's DAX added 0.4 per cent, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.8 per cent. The UK's FTSE 100 fell 0.1 per cent.

The euro strengthened against the greenback, ahead of tomorrow's meeting of European Central Bank policy makers, after a Market News International report, citing senior Eurosystem officials, said that the ECB will keep interest rates at their current level.

Meanwhile, the latest economic data from the euro zone were a mixed bag. Germany's factory orders increased a better-than-expected 3.3 per cent in September, a report showed today.

However, retail sales in the euro zone rose a lower-than-expected 0.3 per cent in September from last year.

Separately, Markit Economics' gauge of services industries in the euro zone last month declined at a pace that was less than initially estimated.

"The euro area economic recovery lost less momentum than first estimated in October," Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said in a statement. "The final reading of the October Eurozone PMI came in above the flash estimate, but still fell compared with September to signal an easing in the already-modest pace of expansion."

- BusinessDesk

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