US stocks stall near record highs, brent oil hits 4-year low

“We have come pretty far, pretty fast”: Is the US stockmarket about to run out of steam? “We have come pretty far, pretty fast”: Is the US stockmarket about to run out of steam?
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“We have come pretty far, pretty fast”: Is the US stockmarket about to run out of steam?

“We have come pretty far, pretty fast”: Is the US stockmarket about to run out of steam?

US stock prices closed largely unchanged on Tuesday after the Dow and Standard & Poor’s 500 hit record intraday highs for a fifth straight session, while the dollar rose against the yen on the prospect of a delay in a planned sales tax hike in Japan.

Oil prices fell further on the stronger dollar and robust output from US shale fields, with Brent crude dropping to a four-year low below $US82 a barrel.

“We have come pretty far, pretty fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the market consolidate a little, in the form of hovering around here or pulling back a little bit,” said David Lebovitz, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 1.16 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 17,614.9, the S&P 500 closed up 1.42 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 2,039.68 and the Nasdaq Composite finished up 8.94 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 4,660.56.

European shares were boosted by positive corporate results. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.3 per cent, as strength in telecoms stocks offset a fall in Italian shares.

Earlier, a 2.1 per cent rise propelled Tokyo’s Nikkei to its highest close since October 2007 on speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might postpone a sales tax hike planned for next October and call a snap election.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, edged up 0.2 per cent to 420.88.

The rally in Japanese stocks helped push the dollar to a seven-year high against the yen. The greenback reached 116.11 yen in European trading on the EBS trading system before easing to 115.48, still up 0.5 per cent on the day.

The euro strengthened 0.5 per cent at $US1.2476, extending a rebound from a two-year low of $US1.2358 hit on Friday.

In the bond market, yields on lower-rated Spanish and Italian government bonds fell after European Central Bank Executive Board member Yves Mersch said on Monday that the ECB purchasing government debt was a theoretical possibility to help the struggling euro zone economy.

The US bond market was closed for the Veterans Day holiday.

In the energy market, Brent crude futures in London closed down 67 cents, or 0.8 per cent, at $US81.67 a barrel after hitting a four-year low of $US81.23. US crude settled up 54 cents, or 0.7 per cent, at $US77.94.

Reuters