Stocks rising in afternoon trading as Dow hits record high

Charging bull statue on Wall Street

The S&P 500 inched up less than a point for a record finish of 2,152.43. While he has released few details, investors are betting he'll keep flooding the markets with money by expanding bond purchases using newly printed money in a program known as quantitative easing.

The Dow Jones (NYSEARCA:DIA) rose 120.74 points or 0.7% to close at an all-time high of 18,347.67.

July 13 US stocks were set for a sedate open on Wednesday, a day after investors powered the S&P 500 and the Dow to record highs amid growing optimism about the economy. The Nasdaq composite was down 9 points, or 0.2 percent, at 5,014. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index is still negative for the year and would have to gain almost 5 percent to regain the closing high it reached last July. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields, which move inversely to prices, hit a one-and-a-half-week high of 1.531 per cent. Analysts forecast corporate earnings in the S&P 500 to fall for a fifth straight quarter.

At the same time, oil prices retreated after racking up strong gains on Tuesday.

Alcoa reported a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly profit, sending the aluminium producer's shares up more than 5 per cent and helping boost optimism about the earnings season.

The Dow and Nasdaq also hit record intraday highs on Tuesday, with the Dow reaching an all-time high of 18,353,76 shortly before noon, according to Fortune.com.

Spot gold recovered from its lowest in almost two weeks, and was last up 0.62 per cent at US$1,339.50 an ounce. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark for U.S. crude futures rose $1.93 or 4.3% to $46.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.3 percent.

"All these factors push you into U.S. stocks and it's unclear what was the hair that broke the camel's back that made us break through this S&P level, he said".

Meanwhile, oil prices were also in focus, which plunged about 4 percent Wednesday following previous day's solid gains, as official data showed a smaller-than-expected US crude inventory draw for last week.

EUROPEAN GAINS: France's CAC 40 rose 1.6 percent and Germany's DAX added 1.3 percent.

The S&P 500 gained 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,152.

ELSEWHERE IN ASIA: South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.7 percent.

Investors' appetite for equities has increased after robust economic data, including a stronger-than-expected U.S.jobs report for June last Friday, and low yields on government bonds.

In other energy trading in NY, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.38 a gallon, and heating oil was flat at $1.42 a gallon. The yen last traded at 104.67 yen to the dollar (JPY=). The euro rose to $1.1112 from $1.1060. USA 10-year yields hit a 1½-week high of 1.531 per cent yesterday.

Buoyed by gains in oil, gold for August delivery slipped US$21.30, or 1.57%, to finish at US$1335.30/ounce. silver for September delivery declined 13 cents, or 0.66%, to settle at US$20.17/ounce.

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