U.S. stock benchmarks closed at all-time highs on Monday afternoon, as equities resumed a steady run-up that could set the tone for the final three months of 2017. Four main benchmarks set records: the S&P 500 index, the Dow, the Nasdaq and the small-cap Russell, shaking off a mass shooting in Las Vegas that President Donald Trump described as “an act of pure evil.”
What are the stock benchmarks doing?
The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.39% advanced by 9.76 points, or 0.4%, finishing at a record 2,529.12, powered by gains in the health-care and financials sectors, up 1% and 0.9%, respectively. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.68% added 152.51 points, or 0.7%, to a fresh all-time peak at 22,557.60, supported by gains in 3M Co. MMM, +1.36% and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS, +1.46%
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.32% meanwhile, tacked on 20.76 points, or 0.3%, to 6,516.72. The Russell 2000 Index RUT, +1.25% also carved out a record, up 1.3% at 1,509.47.
“l think what’s driving the market is just optimism about the fourth quarter, along with expectations that results from the third quarter will be similar to the second quarter,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth. He also said hope that the Trump administration will rework tax policy is supporting buying appetite, although doubts linger about that coming to fruition this year.
“The continued talk [about taxes] that’s all that really matters, but I don’t think that anything gets voted on and passed this year,” he said.
Shares in MGM Resorts International MGM, -5.58% dropped 5.6% in the wake of a mass shooting at the company’s Mandalay Bay property in Las Vegas. A gunman opened fire on a crowd at an outdoor country-music concert in Las Vegas on Sunday night, leaving at least 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.
Gun-maker shares were active in Monday trade. Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands Corp.’s AOBC, +3.21% stock jumped 3.2%, while Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. stocks RGR, +3.48% climbed 3.5%. Vista Outdoor Inc., shares VSTO, +2.44% were 2.4% higher.
Streaming-media company Roku Inc.’s stock ROKU, -11.23% traded 11.2% lower. The new issue surged in its trading debut Thursday, then jumped again Friday.
What’s driving the market?
The closely watched ISM manufacturing index was at 60.8 in September, representing the highest level for the economic reading since 2004. A reading of 50 indicates expansion. A separate reading on manufacturing activity from IHS Markit came in at 53.1 for the same month, compared with 52.8 in the prior month. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a reading of 58.1% for ISM’s index, down from 58.8% in August.
Construction spending, meanwhile, increased 0.5% during the month, and stood 2.5% higher than a year ago. Outlays were at a seasonally adjusted annual $1.22 trillion rate in August, while July’s initial tally was raised to $1.212 trillion. The median forecast among economists surveyed by MarketWatch was for a 0.4% increase.