NASDAQ stutters, but Dow hits fresh highs

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow have advanced today, with the latter on course for a record close.

With under an hour to its close, the Dow Jones was trading up 0.80% or 125 points at 15,473, just shy of the intraday record set earlier in the session of 15,470.85. This leaves the Dow poised to smash its previous closing high of 15,680.35.

Leading the charge was Microsoft, which gained over 4% to $38.10 per share, hitting a 12-year high.

The S&P 500 also rose, although its gains were more modest than the Dow, climbing 0.34% to 1769.00. The NASDAQ 100 gave up earlier gains though, to trade down 0.17% at 3383.0, with Facebook, Apple and Google all sliding.

The buoyancy of the broader market, not just today but as a whole since the resolution of the fiscal spat in Washington, speaks volumes about the effects of the Fed’s stimulus.

Yesterday, two different research papers published by economists at the Fed contended that the current state of the US economy demands continued accommodative monetary policy. The papers, which will be presented to the IMF later this week, argue that it might be more effective for the Fed to lower its unemployment threshold for keeping interest rates near to zero (currently the Fed says it will maintain near-zero rates at least until unemployment drops below 6.5%).

Tomorrow we have jobless claims and GDP data, both of which will, we can assume, be guiding factors in the Fed’s decision on how to proceed with stimulus.

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