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Feb 24, 2017

European & U.S. Stock Markets Closing on February 23,2017
Wallace Witkowski, Ryan Vlastelica
The Dow industrials on Thursday notched a 10th straight record in an up-and-down session in which the Nasdaq declined for a second day in a row amid persistent concerns about lofty valuations and uncertainty about President Donald Trump’s fiscal stimulus plans.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.17% closed up 34.72 points, or 0.2%, at a record 20,810.32, led by gains in health-care stocks Pfizer Inc. PFE, +1.40%  and Johnson & Johnson Inc. JNJ, +1.82%
The blue-chip average has closed at records for 10 straight sessions, the longest such streak since 1987. Not counting record closes, the last time the Dow logged gains for 10 straight sessions was March 2013.
See also: Charting the Dow’s longest record-setting streak since 1987
The S&P 500 SPX, +0.04% finished up 0.99 points at 2,363.81, just short of Tuesday’s closing record of 2,365.38, led by gains in utilities and telecom shares, but held back by declines in the industrials and consumer-discretionary sectors, even as manufacturing CEOs met with President Donald Trump at the White House Thursday. The benchmark index set a intraday record of 2,368.00 before retreating.
“Investor sentiment [in industrials] is fixated on one thing: when the first shovels go in the ground,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, in emailed comments. “It wouldn’t be a big deal if the only issue were a six-month delay. The real concern is that other parts of the Trump plan will suck up all the political capital and leave infrastructure spending with the scraps.”
The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.43% saw the worst daily performance among the major equity benchmarks, off 25.12 points, or 0.4%, to close at 5,835.51. The index was weighed down by shares of Nvidia Corp. NVDA, -9.27%  and Tesla Inc. TSLA, -6.41% Meanwhile, the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF XLK, -0.02% declined 0.1%, snapping a 13-day winning streak, the longest such streak ever for the ETF.
The Nasdaq’s decline for a second day in a row marks the first time in 2017 that the index has seen back-to-back drops
Markets have been in an uptrend since Trump’s election in November, but concerns have been growing that economic fundamentals don’t justify current market prices. By one measure, stock valuations are at their highest level since 2004.
Read: Mnuchin says the stock market is a report card. Here’s where you can find the grade
Even with Trump’s shake-up of the White House and Washington, stocks appear to be taking the perceived chaos in stride given the promises of tax reform and deregulation, said Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone’s multiasset investment group, in a Thursday note.
“Nobody expects [Trump] to get his entire program enacted, but his economic efforts will be viewed as a success if even half is put in place and growth increases 1% with only modest inflation and a minor increase in the budget deficit,” Wien said. “That’s what the stock market is telling us is going to happen, and let’s hope the stock market is right.”
Oil rally: An oil price rally helped to lift shares of U.S. energy giants. Crude oil CLJ7, +1.44%  settled up 1.6% at $54.45 a barrel while data showed crude inventories rose by a smaller-than-expected 600,000 barrels in the latest week.
Read: Why oil experts think OPEC’s U.S. headache won’t go away this year
And: OPEC chief Barkindo plays down threat from rise in U.S. oil output
Shares of Dow component Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, +1.05% closed up 1.1%, while shares of Transocean Ltd. RIG, +7.76%  gained 7.8% and Valero Energy Corp. VLO, +1.55%  advanced 1.6%.
Stock movers: Among other stock-market movers, shares of Tesla dropped 6.4% after the electric-car maker late Wednesday reported a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, though its beat sales expectations.
Nvidia shares closed down 9.3% after a round of bearish analyst comments prompted investors to take profits from the highflying chip maker, which has more than tripled over the past 12 months. Instinet downgraded the stock to reduce from buy, while BMO Capital Markets cut its price target to $85 from $100.
On the other hand, shares of HP Inc. HPQ, +8.64%  rallied 8.6% after quarterly results topped Wall Street estimates. Also, shares of First Solar Inc. FSLR, +10.78%  led S&P 500 gainers, rising 11%.
On a downbeat note, shares of L Brands Inc. LB, -15.81% sank 16% after the Victoria’s Secret parent late Wednesday issued weaker-than-forecast guidance for 2017.
Hormel Foods Corp. HRL, -5.39% shares lost 5.4% after the food company cut its earnings forecast for the year following a sharp decline in profit from its Jennie-O turkey brand.
Kohl’s Corp. KSS, -2.08% shares, which had traded higher earlier after earnings beating forecasts, closed down 2.1%

Carlos Ghosn steps down as Nissan CEO
Carlos Ghosn, one of the best-known executives in the global car industry, is relinquishing his role as Nissan's chief executive to focus on strengthening an alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors. Photo: Getty Images
Economic news: In the latest economic data, the number of U.S. workers who applied for unemployment benefits rose slightly in the latest week, but layoffs remained near ultralow levels last seen in the early 1970s.
See: MarketWatch’s economic calendar
Other markets: Stocks in Asia closed mostly lower as investors pored over the Fed minutes.
European stocks SXXP, -0.14% bounced between gains and losses after a string of corporate updates and finished down 0.1%.
Gold GCJ7, +1.41% prices rose 1.5% to settle at $1,251.40, their best finish in three months, while silver SIH7, +1.20% finished up 0.9%. The ICE Dollar index DXY, -0.34% was slightly lower at 100.98.
—Sara Sjolin in London contributed to this article.



Carla Mozee, Victor Reklaitis
European stocks ended modestly lower Thursday but stayed on track for a weekly gain, as investors sifted through earnings reports and assessed the mixed tone on the path for monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.
The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.24%  dipped by 0.1% to end at 372.85. The pan-European benchmark is on pace for a weekly advance of 0.7%, after rising Tuesday to its highest close since December 2015, then inching fractionally lower Wednesday.
“Markets appear to be caught in limbo on Thursday,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note. “It would appear investors are unwilling to go against the rally, but at the same time, there’s little conviction in it either.”
Opinion: 5 reasons to invest in European stocks now
In the currency market, the euro EURUSD, +0.1512%  fetched $1.0583, up moderately from the $1.0561 it traded at late Wednesday in New York in the wake of the Fed minutes.
“Many” Fed members supported raising interest rates in the world’s largest economy “fairly soon,” but were cautious as they await details about stimulus measures wanted by U.S. President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress.
“It is the lack of commitment to a hiking timeline and overall ambiguity that continues to leave investors empty-handed,” said Lukman Otunuga, FXTM research analyst, in a note.
He said a March rate increase by the Fed looks unlikely. But “a scenario where U.S. economic data repeatedly exceeds expectations…could prompt the central bank to surprise markets by taking action in May.”
“At some point, in the absence of details on Trump’s tax and stimulus plans, the rally may run out of steam,” said Oanda’s Erlam, referring to recent gains for European and U.S. equities.
While the Fed is on the path of raising rates, the European Central Bank has left rates at ultralow levels and is buying 60 billion euros ($63 billion) a month of government bonds throughout the eurozone.
Movers: Telefonica SA TEF, +0.60% TEF, +2.24%  gained 1.8%. The Spanish telecom company swung to a fourth-quarter profit of €145 million after booking major restructuring costs a year earlier.
Barclays PLC shares BARC, +0.48%  closed down 2.6% as an early gain faded. The London-based bank swung to a full-year net profit of 1.6 billion pounds ($1.99 billion) and said it’s now just months away from finishing its restructuring.
Veolia Environnement SA VIE, -0.98%  dropped 5.8%. The company expects 2017 adjusted net profit to remain roughly stable as low inflation hinders revenue growth and as some local authorities in Europe retake the handling of water and waste management from private companies. Adjusted net income in 2016 was above expectations.
Peugeot SA UG, -0.65%  said it’s planning to pay its first dividend since 2010. Net profit surged 79% for 2016, while revenue fell 1.2% to €54.03 billion. Shares of the French car maker fell 1.6%.
Indexes: France’s CAC 40 PX1, -0.38%  shed 0.1% to close at 4,891.29, and Germany’s DAX 30 DAX, -0.29%  gave up 0.4% to finish at 11,947.83.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, -0.14% closed down 0.4% at 7,271.37.
Economic data: Germany’s economy grew at fourth-quarter rate of 0.4%, or 1.7% in annualized terms, said statistics agency Destatis, confirming its earlier estimates.
Flame-throwing drone removes net in Chinese power line
Maintenance workers in China's Xiangyang city used a flame-throwing drone to remove a net that had severely affected electricity supply after becoming entangled in a power line, according to Chinese state media.