Stocks open a busy week on track for a record high

Business

FILE – In this Oct. 7, 2019, file photo specialist Patrick King, left, and trader Fred DeMarco work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 28. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks moved broadly higher in midday trading Monday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a record high at the beginning of a busy week of corporate earnings and economic reports.

Wall Street will get reports from 156 companies in the benchmark index this week. The company news and reports on housing, consumer confidence and hiring will give investors a clearer diagnosis of the economy’s health. Investors will also closely watch the Federal Reserve’s latest decision on interest rates Wednesday.

Microsoft rose after winning a Pentagon contract, and other technology companies also climbed. AT&T led broad gains for communications companies.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.85% from 1.80% late Friday.

Utilities, consumer product makers and real estate companies lagged the market in another sign that investors were more confident and shifting money into riskier holdings.

The S&P 500 rose 16 points, or 0.5%, to 3,039 as of noon Eastern time, about 14 points above the record set on July 26.

The market could also have history on its side today, according to Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial.

“October 28 is historically the best day of the year for stocks,” he said in a note to investors. According to Detrick, the average gain on Oct. 28 is 0.54% which would give the S&P 500 a close of 3,038.87.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 113 points, or 0.4%, to 27,071. The Dow is still about 1% below its record set on July 15.

The Nasdaq rose 0.9%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.9%.

FULL WEEK: The market could be in for a more volatile ride this week. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reports earnings results later Monday. General Motors and drugmakers Merck and Pfizer release results on Tuesday. Apple and Facebook report on Wednesday.

Several important economic reports will be issued this week. The government will release its closely watched monthly employment report on Friday. Economists expect a slight increase in the unemployment rate to 3.6% in October from 3.5% in September.

Meanwhile, Wall Street widely expects the Fed to cut its benchmark short-term rate to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. It would be the central bank’s third interest rate cut this year.

MARRIAGE PROPOSAL: Jeweler Tiffany soared 27.8% after being courted by French luxury group LVMH with a $14.5 billion buyout offer. LVMH owns fashion names including Christian Dior, Givenchy and Tag Heuer. The offer comes as Tiffany struggles with stagnating sales.

BIG CLOUD: Microsoft rose 2.8% after The Pentagon on Friday awarded the software company a $10 billion cloud computing contract. The long-established technology company beat Amazon, the early front-runner, for the hefty award.

CALL RECEIVED: AT&T rose 4.7% after the company said it will look for more parts of its business to sell off and add two new board members after pressure from an activist investor.

Hedge fund Elliott Management said it supported AT&T’s plans. It had called for changes in September as it revealed a 1% stake in the wireless company.

OVERSEAS: European markets rose. The European Union agreed Monday to give Britain a three-month extension for its planned departure from the 28-member trading bloc. It had been set to leave on Oct. 31. The extension gives both sides more time to make a deal that will cover trade and other issues.

Asian markets rose broadly.

© 2019 Circle City Broadcasting I, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.

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