S&P 500 ticks higher after record close


Stocks are inching higher today after the S&P 500 broke out to new all-time highs yesterday.

Futures on the index are fractionally higher, while most European markets are up by about one-third to half a percent. Asian markets also advanced overnight, led by a 2 percent gain in Japan.

Yesterday the S&P 500 closed almost 12 points above its previous record level from 2007, following breakouts earlier in the year by the Russell 2000 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. That leaves the Nasdaq 100 as the only major benchmark to remain below its previous peaks.

Momentum has been bullish as money trickles in from bond accounts after years of pessimism toward equities. Slow but steady improvement in the economy, solid corporate results, and increased stability in Europe have given investors few reasons to pull money from the market.

Attention returns to the U.S. labor market today as weekly jobless claims come out at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists expecting a reading of 365,000. Retailers will announce monthly same-store sales throughout the morning. The government releases its own broad retail-sales numbers tomorrow, followed by the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment number.

Commodities are trading indecisively. Oil is little-changed, copper is down almost half a percent, precious metals are mixed, and agricultural products are mostly higher. Natural gas continues to climb, adding another half a percent.

U.S. dollar weakness is the main theme in the foreign-exchange market, with the greenback lower against the euro, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, and Australian dollar.

In company-specific news, network-security stock Fortinet is down 18 percent after its earnings and revenue lagged expectations. Pharmacy chain Rite-Aid is up 8 percent after its results beat estimates. Retailer Zumiez is up 8 percent after reporting strong same-store sales yesterday afternoon.

Disclosure: I own RAD shares.

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