S&P 500 Trades Above 2,000 for First Time

Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP

Encouraging signals from central bankers helped lift U.S. stocks in morning trading Monday, propelling the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) above 2,000 points for the first time. Investors shrugged off lackluster data on new home sales and focused instead on the latest round of corporate deals. Burger King soared on news it was in talks to buy Tim Hortons of Canada.

Keeping Score: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,001 as of 12:05 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) added 109 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,110. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 28 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,566.

Record Territory: The S&P 500, a widely followed barometer of the U.S. stock market, crossed above 2,000 in the first hour of trading Monday.

"Closing above that level is going to be the big test," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade (AMTD). "The S&P 500 overall is a sea of green, which is a great thing to see for those who are bullish."

Bull Run: Despite lingering geopolitical concerns from conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, investors have been encouraged this summer by strong corporate earnings and steady job gains. The question is whether all the confidence on Wall Street is being echoed on Main Street. That's one reason investors will be particularly interested in the latest government data on durable goods, due out Tuesday.

"Are people who are getting employed actually spending on bigger-ticket items? That becomes the big test," Kinahan said.

Housing Stumble: The Commerce Department said sales of new homes slid 2.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 412,000. That's down from an upwardly revised June rate. New home sales have struggled to gain traction this year, held back by modest wage growth, a bump in mortgage rates and rising home prices. Several homebuilder stocks turned lower after the report came out at 10 a.m. Eastern time, led by Taylor Morrison Home (TMHC) with a decline of 26 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $20.16.

Deal Boost: Shares in InterMune (ITMN) vaulted 35.5 percent following news that the California biotech company agreed to sell itself to Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche for $8.3 billion. The deal was announced Sunday. Roche added $19.09 to $72.89.

Under Pressure: A big shareholder in Ann (ANN), the parent company of Ann Taylor and Loft clothing chains, is putting public pressure on management to explore selling the company. The campaign drove Ann shares up $2.19, or 5.8 percent, to $39.71.

Doughnut King?: Burger King (BKW) rose $5.01, or 18.5 percent, to $32.14 on news the fast-food chain is in talks to acquire doughnut chain Tim Hortons (THI) and create a new holding company headquartered in Canada, a move that could shave its tax bill.

Sector Watch: Sector Watch: All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, with financials leading the pack. Morgan Stanley (MS) rose the most in the index, adding $1.01, or 3 percent, to $34.48. Cablevision Systems (CVC) fell the most, losing 34 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $18.

Overseas Markets: Germany's DAX advanced 1.6 percent, while France's CAC 40 rose 1.9 percent. British markets were closed for a holiday. Markets in Asia were mixed, with Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225, South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng each notching gains Monday, while China's Shanghai Composite index and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 each declined.

Bonds and Commodities: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.39 percent from 2.40 percent late Friday. Benchmark U.S. crude for October delivery fell 31 cents to $93.65 a barrel in New York.

-AP business writer Youkyoung Lee contributed to this report from Seoul, South Korea.

Wall Street Watches for S&P 500 to Reach 2,000

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Russia threatening the Ukraine, the Gaza Strip mess, Isis running rampage, beheading Americans, Syria, the Mexican border, earthquakes, forest fires, droughts, and a SNAFU president and congress. Absolutely the market should rally. It's Wall Street at it's best.

August 25 2014 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I knew it was coming. the stock market is hitting record highs, the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, and the Republicans are complaining that what we really need is a president who is more business friendly. What we need is a president who is more friendly to the workers. You know, the ones who actually produce stuff.

August 25 2014 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Scottilla's comment

Yes, just think how many more get hired when those doing the hiring are under attack.

What we need is a president who recognizes the proper role of government goons is to create and maintain an environment for the free and just pursuit of happiness, and therefore views ALL Americans as nothing more (or less) than free and equal citizens. By doing so, government goons would no longer attempt to buy votes from you dumb ones by pitting one American against another, and ALL Americans would be FAR better off..

August 25 2014 at 2:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Thomas Rockford

In an administration obstinately opposed to real growth policies, and an education system that generates workers that can barely read, the best anyone can hope for is part-time and minimum-wage jobs.... No wonder minimum wage increases are being pushed.

Taking all of these forces together, you get Obama's dream: a drop in the standard of living of the affluent accompanied, by redistribution of wealth to the Democrat-voting minimum wage employee.

Just take myself for example - I was laid off in 2010 shortly after the start of the recession. I’m highly skilled in my field (chemical engineer), yet have been bouncing around from job to job all making starting salary numbers, despite being 40 years old.

Paying my mortgage is a struggle. Paying my health insurance is worse ($375/month from Freelancer’s Union). I am forced to buy cheap bare minimum car insurance ($18/month from Insurance Panda). My daughter is forced to attend a public school that is in increasingly worse condition. Yet here I am, unable to afford a quality education for her. I can only assume it is MUCH MUCH WORSE for other people.

Now if Obama manages to avoid any significant voter-identification legislation and manages to reduce/eliminate deportations while keeping open the border, all of his dreams come true!

August 25 2014 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Thomas Rockford's comment
Big John

Thomas, sorry to hear about being laid off but you should know that you got laid off due to the downturn that took place in September of 2008 that was caused from eight years of trickle down (Voodoo) economics that caused the worst recession since the Great Depression. The Great Depression of 1929 lasted until the beginning of WWII and we started to pull out of it in 1942. That is thirteen years of no growth and you expect anyone to pull us out of this mess in four years?? The big question is if Bush's policies worked then why should Obama have to fix anything?? All should be well.

August 25 2014 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Big John's comment

LMAO......johnny getting all political with the spammer. What a maroon.

August 25 2014 at 9:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

Big John, sorry to hear that you're a pathetic dunce, but you should know that Thomas Rockford is an internet bot whose job it is to generate canned marketing spam on behalf of Freelancer's Union that is designed to prey upon the dumbest readers of internet message boards.

You know, like you.

August 25 2014 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you president Obama!!

August 25 2014 at 11:14 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kevin's comment

Just think what kind of return you'd get if you had your payroll taxes invested in the markets.

August 25 2014 at 3:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply