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Overnight Markets: US stocks gain as small-cap Russell hits record

Overnight Markets: US stocks gain as small-cap Russell hits record

Wall Street bounced back on Wednesday lifted by retail and technology stocks while small-cap Russell 2000 notched another record high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 63 points, or 0.25%, to 24,769, the S&P 500 rose 11 points, or 0.41%, to 2,722, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 47 points, or 0.63%, to 7,398.

Consumer discretionary, materials and consumer staples were the day’s top performing sectors. Smaller companies continued to outperform their larger rivals with the Russell 2000 reaching a record high. The index ended up 1%.

However, trade tensions between the US and China weighed upon a number of blue-chips, such as Boeing, Caterpillar and 3M, which in turn have kept a lid on the Dow.

In economic news, retail sales data released earlier this week indicated rising consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity. The data was further underscored by Macy’s better than expected first-quarter results yesterday. The stock was the top gainer on the S&P 500, climbing 10.8%. Other US retailers also jumped, with JC Penney up 5.5% and Target up 2.9%.

The tech sector rose 0.4%, and gave the S&P500 its biggest boost among the major sectors. Micron Technology Inc rose 4.6% after RBC Capital Markets initiated coverage of the chipmaker with an "outperform" rating.

Facebook Inc shares were the biggest drag on the S&P500, closing down 0.6%, on news that chief executive Mark Zuckerberg would appear before members of the European Parliament to answer questions about the improper use of users' data.

3M Co weighed the most on the Dow, slipping 1.1% after Jefferies downgraded the stock to "hold."

Meanwhile, yields on 10-year US Treasuries hit 3.10% for the first time since July 2011, continuing to pressure stocks.

In Asia, stocks traded mostly higher on Thursday, taking cue from gains on Wall Street overnight led by retail and technology stocks.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 0.54%. Over in Seoul, the Kospi edged up by 0.25%. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.27%. In China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.094%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was trading up 0.13%.


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