S&P, Nasdaq Flirt With Record Highs as Tech, Energy Advance

© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq continued to flirt with record highs Friday, led by a climb in the energy and technology sectors and data showing the U.S. consumer remains in good shape.

The rose 0.40%, or 113 points. The added 0.31%, while the gained 0.31% to close at a record highs. 

Signs the consumer, an important driver of growth, is not reining in spending continued to support optimism over the pace of the recovery.

Consumer spending rose by 1.9% in the month of July, according to the Commerce Department, topping economists’ forecast for a 1.5% increase.

The rise in spending was slower than the prior month’s 6.5% surge, raising concerns growth could slow again this month. But some on Wall Street said the spending more likely will pick-up as U.S. lawmakers are poised to eventually roll out more fiscal stimulus.

“Even if spending does contract in August, the weakness is likely to be short-lived. Another round of fiscal support – which is still our base case – should reverse the Aug cliff and cause personal income to reaccelerate sharply in the September/October timeframe,” Jefferies (NYSE:) said in a note.

Energy was among the biggest gainers on the day, up more than 1%. The sector shrugged off weakness in U.S. oil prices as bets on major disruptions to U.S. energy infrastructure limiting output further were reined in after Hurricane Laura passed along the U.S. Gulf Coast causing less damage than feared.

Big tech also supported the broader move higher as the Fab 5 – with the exception of Facebook – continued to trade in the green.

Amazon (NASDAQ:), Alphabet (NASDAQ:), Apple (NASDAQ:), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:) were higher, while Facebook (NASDAQ:) fell 0.3%.

Tech was also helped by a 5% rally in Dell Technologies (NYSE:) after the company reported better-than-expected results on both the top and bottom lines.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:) surged 6% after its second-quarter profit topped consensus estimates, underpinned by a strong e-commerce performance.

In other news, Herbalife Nutrition Ltd (NYSE:) fell 0.85% after the company signed a deferred prosecution agreement to settle U.S. government charges over allegations that it bribed Chinese officials, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing a federal prosecutor.

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