Monday, January 24, 2022 | 08:05 pm

US STOCKS-Banks, Tech Stocks Propel S&P 500 to New Highs

US STOCKS-Banks, Tech Stocks Propel S&P 500 to New Highs

The S&P 500 hit a record high for the fourth straight session on Tuesday, helped by shares of heavyweight technology firms and banks, while an upbeat consumer confidence report set a positive tone for the key jobs to report at the end of the week.

U.S. consumer confidence increased in June to its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than a year ago, bolstering expectations for strong economic growth in the second quarter.

Market participants are closely watching the non-farm payroll report on Friday, which could pave way for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy stance which hinges on an equitable recovery of the labor market.

“The big number is the jobs number and we are going to balance along here till we get that information on Friday,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors rose in early trading, with energy, materials, and industrials among the top gainers after lagging in the past few sessions.

Morgan Stanley jumped 4% after it doubled its dividend to 70 cents per share in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, and Goldman Sachs Group also raised their payouts.

All the three major Wall Street indexes are set for their fifth straight quarter of gains, boosted by ultra-loose monetary policy, a rebounding U.S. economy, and robust corporate earnings.

With the S&P 500 climbing nearly 14% in the first half of the year, the focus will shift to the second-quarter earnings season, beginning in July, which could decide the path for the next leg of the equity markets.

At 10:23 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 131.17 points, or 0.38%, at 34,414.44 and the S&P 500 was up 5.52 points, or 0.13%, at 4,296.13.

The Nasdaq Composite was down 14.93 points, or 0.10%, at 14,485.58 after hitting an all-time high earlier in the session.

Facebook Inc dipped a day after crossing $1 trillion in market value and joining the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Saudi Aramco, Amazon, and Google-owner Alphabet that now makeup 10% of world equities.

Textron rose 3% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the business jet maker’s stock to “overweight” from “equal weight in hopes of a stronger recovery.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.46-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.07-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 30 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 59 new highs and 14 new lows.