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Tech gains lift Nasdaq; consumer stocks weigh on S&P, Dow

Strong earnings and solid economic growth have pushed stocks to record levels this year. — Reuters picStrong earnings and solid economic growth have pushed stocks to record levels this year. — Reuters picNEW YORK, Dec 7 ― Gains in technology stocks helped lift the Nasdaq today, while the S&P 500 and the Dow were weighed down by losses in consumer stocks.

Broadcom rose 3.2 per cent after the chipmaker reported upbeat profit and boosted its dividend by 72 per cent.

Lululemon Athletica gained 7.8 per cent after the Canadian yoga and leisure apparel maker reported a higher-than-expected profit and gave an upbeat holiday season forecast.

Apple and Alphabet helped lift tech stocks and provided the biggest boosts to the Nasdaq.

General Electric shares were little changed after the industrial conglomerate said it was cutting 12,000 jobs at its global power business.

Strong earnings and solid economic growth have pushed stocks to record levels this year and Republican efforts to cut corporate taxes have added to the momentum.

The Senate Republicans yesterday agreed to talks with the House of Representatives on the tax bill amid early signs that lawmakers could agree on a final bill ahead of a self-imposed Dec. 22 deadline.

However, a gridlock between President Donald Trump and Congress over the passage of spending legislation before tomorrow has raised fears of partial shut down of the federal government.

“Very rarely does this actually turn into a government shut down,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in Boston.

“What typically happens is the markets grow immune to this debate that at the eleventh hour ,some compromise is made and things move forward and I think that will be how this proceeds.”

At 9:41am ET (1441 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 6.35 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 24,147.26, the S&P 500 was up 0.45 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 2,629.72.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 15.13 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 6,791.50.

Seven of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the consumer staples index’s 0.51 per cent fall leading the decliners. McDonald’s 0.7 per cent fall weighed the most on the Dow, while Costco and General Mills weighed the most on the sector.

Data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, with claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to 236,000 for the week ended Dec. 2.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 240,000.

The report comes ahead of a more comprehensive government payrolls data on Friday, where investors are looking to gauge the strength of the labor market.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,299 to 1,196. On the Nasdaq, 1,238 issues rose and 1,094 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed nine new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 20 new highs and 16 new lows. ― Reuters 

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