News Column

Daily Wrap: S&P 500 closes above 2,000

August 26, 2014

By David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch



Aug. 26--TODAY'S INDEXES -- Dow industrials 17,106.70 + 29.83

S&P 500 2,000.02 + 2.10

Nasdaq 4570.64 + 13.29

S&P 2K: It wasn't much of a gain, just 0.1 percent, but the Standard & Poor's 500 managed to close above 2,000 for the first time. It took the big index 16 years to double after crossing 1,000 in February 1998. The Dow Jones industrial average remained less than 32 points below the record it hit in July, and even the Nasdaq Composite is creeping within shouting distance of record territory. A gain of 10 percent would put the Nasdaq above the level it hit during the dot-com mania of 14 years ago.

SHOPPERS AREN'T BACK: Best Buy fell 6.9 percent after beating analysts' profit estimates but falling short of revenue projections. The company said it expects discounting to erode profit margins in the second half of the year.

DOUGHNUTS AND BURGERS: Tim Hortons shares rose 8 percent in Canada after Burger King agreed to buy the doughnut chain. Warren Buffett'sBerkshire Hathaway will earn a cool 9 percent on its preferred-stock investment that's financing the deal, but Berkshire's Class A and Class B shares fell slightly.

LOCAL INDEX: The Bloomberg St. Louis Index rose 0.2 percent, in line with the broader market.

STL STOCKS GAINERS LOSERS

Viasystems Group 4.8% Allied Healthcare -7.6%

Stereotaxis 3.1% Huttig Bldg Products -3.1%

Build-A-Bear 2.2% Reliv International -2.7%

LOCAL GAINER: Arch Coal added 1.6 percent after an investor presentation Monday in which executives talked about reduced capital expenditures and a "strong liquidity position." Arch also said industry inventories are projected to fall to levels not seen since 2005, even as U.S. coal consumption was up 5 percent in the first five months of this year.

LOCAL LOSER: Ameren was the second-biggest loser in the S&P 500, dropping 1.9 percent. Several other utilities felt a similar downdraft, with Exelon losing 1.6 percent, Entergy 1.5 percent and Edison International 1.5 percent.

ANALYST'S INSIGHTS: Robert Walker of Jefferies LLC lowered his earnings estimate and price target for Monsanto after watching a company "whistle-stop tour" in Iowa. He said management "reiterated a path to double EPS (earnings per share) by 2019, but acknowledged incremental headwinds in 2015."

THE DAY AHEAD: Earnings reports are due from Brown Shoe and Isle of Capri Casinos. Analysts think both companies essentially are flat performers: They estimate 35 cents a share from Brown's second quarter, up from 34 cents a year ago, and 2 cents a share from Isle's first quarter, down from 3 cents a year ago.

David Nicklaus is business columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Subscribe to his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter @dnickbiz.

___

(c)2014 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


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