Stocks Extend Run of Record Highs; VIX at New Low
By Michael Wursthorn and Riva Gold -- Major U.S. stock indexes hit fresh records -- CBOE Volatility Index surpasses all-time low -- Shares of financial firms, technology companies surge
The S&P 500 closed at another fresh high Thursday, its longest streak of record closes in 20 years.
Financial firms and technology companies contributed significant gains to the index, but the day's gains were broad. Nine of the index's 11 major sectors rose to help the S&P 500 notch its sixth consecutive high. As stocks advanced, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge fell to its lowest reading ever.
Strong corporate earnings have supported stocks for months, and a recent run of economic data reflecting stability and growth in the U.S. have added to stocks' momentum, analysts said. Stocks continue to hit records, even as some investors remain wary of low volatility and lofty valuations.
"We've pared back on U.S. exposure and made a tilt overseas, but not a dramatic one," said Doug Cohen, managing director of portfolio management at Athena Capital Advisors. "The reality is this is one of the more expensive markets in the last 100 years, but equities are still the most attractive asset class."
The S&P 500 rose 14.33 points, or 0.6%, to 2552.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 113.75 points, or 0.5%, to 22775.39 -- its seventh consecutive day of gains. The Nasdaq Composite added 50.73 points, 0.8%, to 6585.36 for its eighth straight day of advances.
A measure of expected stock swings, the CBOE Volatility Index, fell 4.6% to 9.19, surpassing its all-time low of 9.31 set in December 1993.
Shares of financial firms in the S&P 500 added 1% as bond yields rose. Higher yields tend to portend better profits for lenders.
Goldman Sachs Group climbed $5.75, or 2.4%, to $246.06, contributing nearly 40 points to the Dow industrials' gain.