Stocks Inch Higher After Iranian Strike Roiled Markets

Stocks Inch Higher After Iranian Strike Roiled Markets

Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc rose 0.8% and 0.5%, respectively. Iran went on to launch more than a dozen missiles at Iraqi bases hosting United States and coalition troops on Wednesday, but neither side is believed to be planning additional attacks. The S&P 500 also posted an intraday all-time high after President Donald Trump said Iran appeared to be "standing down" after firing a barrage of missiles at military bases housing USA troops in Iraq.

Diminishing worries about a U.S. -Iran war put more of the market's focus on the economy, corporate profits and other inputs that directly affect stock prices.

Wall Street's main indexes brushed off government data that showed domestic jobs increased by 145,000 last month, below the forecast for a 164,000 rise, as the pace of hiring remained more than enough to keep the longest economic expansion in history on track.

"Should the nascent recovery in the global economy continue, further upside in global markets is still possible".

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose a stronger 0.8 per cent to end at 9,203.43.

Elsewhere, European stocks were flat, with the Stoxx Europe 600 recently up less than 0.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 133.13 points, or 0.46%, to 28,823.77, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 9.35 points, or 0.29%, to 3,265.35 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 24.57 points, or 0.27%, to 9,178.86.

The S&P 500 posted 61 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 106 new highs and 27 new lows. Technology stocks rose 0.9%, the most among the major S&P sectors.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell two basis points to 1.85%.Britain's 10-year yield was little changed at 0.819%. Germany's DAX returned 1.3%, and France's CAC 40 added 0.2%.

Elsewhere, Defense stocks traded mixed as Raytheon paced the gains and Northrop Grumman trailed. "We could see some volatility in the beginning of 2020" following a well-worn path of choppy first halves for stocks during presidential election years, "but we don't see any sort of recession on the horizon". Kohl's fell 6.5%, the largest loss in the S&P 500, after it reported weaker sales during the 2019 holiday season than in the same period in 2018.

Tom Holland, an analyst with investor advisory firm Gavekal Research, noted that global oil prices surged immediately after the Iranian missile strike but receded in later hours. It would eventually settle down 5.4% at 12.72. It fell $2.83 the previous session to $65.44.

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