US stock indexes hold near record levels

SHARE US stock indexes hold near record levels
SHARE US stock indexes hold near record levels

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks held close to all-time highs Tuesday as investors assessed the latest reports on the economy. The government raised its estimate for economic growth in the third quarter, giving the U.S. its strongest six months of growth in a decade, but a separate report showed that consumer confidence fell in November. Energy stocks fell the most as the price of crude oil resumed its decline.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell one point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,068 as of 12:28 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose seven points, less than 0.1 percent, to 17,825. The Nasdaq composite gained one point, or less than 0.1 percent, to 4,757.

FASTER GROWTH: The U.S. economy grew at a solid 3.9 percent annual rate in the July-September period, even faster than first reported. The third quarter growth rate climbed from an initial estimate of 3.5 percent because of greater spending by consumers and businesses, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

THE QUOTE: “The economy is growing faster now than it has thus far during this expansion,” said David Lebovitz, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “What we’re seeing is that people are slowly recognizing that the U.S. economy is the most attractive (to invest in) compared to everybody else.”

CONFIDENCE KNOCK: U.S. consumer confidence fell in November following a big gain in the previous month. The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index fell to 88.7 in November, down from a seven-year high of 94.5 in October. The decline primarily reflected reduced optimism in the short-term outlook, as consumers expressed less confidence in current business conditions.

EARNINGS BEAT: Pall, a company that makes filters for the food and health care industries, was the leading gainer in the S&P 500. The company’s stock jumped $2.99, or 3.2 percent, to $97.68 after its earnings beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

EUROPE’S DAY: France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent at 4,382 and Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent to 9,861. Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat at 6,731.

OPEC MEETING: Energy stocks slid along with oil prices following reports that the world’s biggest producers are unwilling to cut production to help stop a slump in the price of crude.

Representatives from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Russian state oil giant OAO Rosneft met Tuesday ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna and didn’t announce any immediate plans to cut output, the Wall Street Journal reported.

OPEC members will meet on Thursday. The price of crude has tumbled 30 percent since June as producers kept output stable while demand in Europe and other markets weakened.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.41, 1.9 percent, to $74.36 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That helped send energy stocks lower. The S&P 500′s energy sector fell 1.1 percent, the most of the 10 sectors in the index.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.29 percent from 2.31 percent Monday. The dollar fell to 117.98 yen from 118.28 yen late Monday. The euro rose to $1.2466.

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