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US STOCKS-Wall Street carries momentum into 2018 as techs climb

Stock MarketsJan 02, 2018 23:40
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© Reuters. US STOCKS-Wall Street carries momentum into 2018 as techs climb

* Oil trades near strongest levels since mid-2015

* Media, retail stocks rise after positive broker recommendations

* Casino stocks hit by downbeat December gambling revenue

* Indexes up: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.62 pct, Nasdaq 1.2 pct (Updates to early afternoon)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 2 (Reuters) - Wall Street's major indexes were higher on the first trading session of 2018 on Tuesday, driven by gains in technology and consumer discretionary stocks, setting the stage for another robust year for equities.

Major stock indexes closed out 2017 with their best performances since 2013 and the rally is widely expected to continue this year, helped by a cut in corporate taxes that is anticipated to boost profits as well as the economy.

"It is seasonally a very good time for equities as new money comes into work," said John Brady, senior vice president at futures brokerage R.J. O'Brien & Associates in Chicago.

"It seems as if most economists have raised their GDP forecasts for 2018, and we're going to get some form of a fiscal stimulus into an economy that has a tight labor market. The market is pricing all of this in."

Gains in Apple AAPL.O , Facebook FB.O , Alphabet GOOGL.O and Microsoft MSFT.O pulled the technology index .SPLRCT higher by about 1 percent, following a 37 percent surge in 2017 that made it the best performing S&P sector.

"People are back to looking at what have been the winners," said Rick Meckler, president of hedge fund LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The S&P consumer discretionary index .SPLRCD was up 1.35 percent, boosted by a 1.4 percent gain in Amazon AMZN.O and a 3 percent increase in Walt Disney DIS.N .

Disney, Netflix NFLX.O and Discovery Communications DISCA.O climbed following brokerage Macquire's upgrade to "outperform". Penney JCP.N , Nordstrom JWN.N and Kohl's KSS.N climbed after a bullish note on the retail sector by Citigroup (NYSE:C) detailed the benefits from the corporate tax cuts. prices dipped but hovered near their mid-2015 highs amid large anti-government rallies in major exporter Iran and ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC and Russia. O/R

Gold and copper prices extended their gains, but the greenback began the year on the back foot, with the dollar index .DXY slipping to its weakest level since September.

At 12:28 p.m. ET (1728 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 49.97 points, or 0.2 percent, at 24,769.19 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 16.7 points, or 0.62 percent, at 2,690.31. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 82.61 points, or 1.2 percent, at 6,986.00.

Shares of casino operators Wynn Resorts WYNN.O and Melco Resorts & Entertainment MLCO.O were down more than 2 percent after a report showed lower-than-expected rise in Macau gambling revenue in December. Labs ABT.N jumped more than 3 percent to a record $59.02 after two brokerages upgraded the company's stock to "overweight". issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,786 to 1,073. On the Nasdaq, 2,019 issues rose and 902 fell.

US STOCKS-Wall Street carries momentum into 2018 as techs climb
 

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