(Updates to late afternoon)
* Consumer discretionary tops gainers among S&P sectors
* Best Buy and PVH top of S&P after strong results
* Energy index down 2 pct following oil's decline
* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 25 U.S. stocks rose on Thursday,
with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite hitting new highs, helped
by gains in the consumer discretionary sector after strong
reports from Best Buy and other retailers.
The discretionary index was up 1.2 percent, while
the S&P 500 retail index was up 1.9 percent, on track
for its best day since Nov. 7.
Best Buy jumped more than 22 percent, hitting a
record high and making it the top gainer on the S&P, after its
comparable sales unexpectedly rose last quarter.
Tommy Hilfiger owner PVH was the second-biggest S&P
gainer with a 5.4-percent jump to a near 6-month high on strong
results. Sears was up about 10 percent after posting
its first quarterly profit in nearly two years.
The reports follow mixed results this reporting period from
other retailers, some of which continue to be hurt by
competition from Amazon.com.
But they helped to put major indexes on track for a sixth
straight day of gains, continuing their rebound from last week's
selloff. The S&P 500 is up 2.5 percent since last Wednesday's
"There's no clear and present danger on the horizon," said
Jimmy Chang, chief investment strategist at Rockefeller & Co in
"The lack of fear, the complacency is supporting the market.
At the same time, the Fed (minutes) yesterday is really nothing
new. The Fed has done a very good job of communicating its plans
to the market, so it's been managing expectations fairly well."
But, he said, given high valuations, further upside may be
difficult for the market without progress on tax reform in
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 78.86 points,
or 0.38 percent, to 21,091.28, the S&P 500 had gained
12.42 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,416.81 and the Nasdaq
Composite had added 53.18 points, or 0.86 percent, to
Minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest meeting, released on
Wednesday afternoon, showed that while policymakers backed a
rate hike, they also agreed to hold off until it was clear a
recent slowdown in the economy was temporary.
Fed officials also proposed a plan to wind down its $4.5
trillion of debt securities, including a limit on how much would
be allowed to fall off the balance sheet each month.
Analysts also said the S&P 500 being able to break through
and stay above the 2,400 level for the third straight session
has also provided technical support.
Limiting gains, the S&P energy index was down 1.9
percent following a drop in crude oil prices. OPEC agreed to
extend output cuts, but not by as much as investors had hoped
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.07-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.11-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 89 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 127 new highs and 58 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by
Savio D'Souza and Nick Zieminski)