Equities Build on Rallies in US With More Record Highs

Markets in the US ended firmer, with gains in all indices sending them to record highs for another day as economic data bolstered investor sentiment and helped reverse earlier losses.

Utilities surged 1.1% to post the best increase on the Standard & Poor’s 500, with six of the 11 sectors gaining. On the downside, financials fell 0.3% and energy shed 0.1% as crude oil prices decreased.

While the gains weren’t as pronounced Wednesday, the markets still added to their rally, with the S&P 500 up a seventh day and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite climbing for a sixth straight day. On the Dow, Nike (NKE) rose 1.2% in the best increase while General Electric (GE) shed 1.3% in the steepest loss.

ISM Non-Manufacturing Composite index topped analysts’ expectations to hit the highest level since August 2005, although the ADP National Employment Report indicated that job growth in the private sector slowed in September to 135,000, while estimates on Econoday were for 140,000.

Investors were also looking renewed hopes that a tax reform package will get passed, with Goldman Sachs raising the odds of legislation going through in 2018 to 65%. If reforms are passed into law, the changes will lead to significant earnings upside and faster economic growth, according to Goldman Sachs.

In company news, Netflix (NFLX) rose 2.9% after UBS retained its buy rating on the stock but raised its price target to $225 from $190, expecting it to remain the global leader in video streaming. Republic Services (RSG) shed 4.9% after Stifel Nicolaus downgraded the shares to hold from buy, while lowering the price target by $6 to $70.

GoPro (GPRO) shed 6.3% as Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Google introduced a new clip-on camera. Real Goods Solar (RGSE) soared 189% after getting an exclusive license agreement with Dow Chemical for the PowerHouse solar shingles system.

By the close, the S&P 500 and the Dow were up 0.1% with the Nasdaq was just slightly firmer.

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