* U.S. GDP revised higher, boosted by consumer spending
* Financials lead market higher, defensive utilities drop
* Lululemon slumps after weak first-quarter outlook
* Indexes up: Dow 0.33 pct, S&P 0.29 pct, Nasdaq 0.28 pct
(Updates to close of U.S. markets)
By Lewis Krauskopf
March 30 Wall Street gained on Thursday, led by
financial shares, after data showed U.S. economic growth was
stronger than previously reported last quarter, helped by robust
consumer spending, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq set a record
The energy sector rose for a third straight day,
supported by stronger oil prices and a 8.8-percent gain
for ConocoPhillips, the biggest percentage riser on the
S&P 500 after it agreed to sell oil and gas assets.
The S&P 500 gained for a third straight day, rebounding
after its worst week of the year last week.
U.S. economic growth slowed less than previously reported in
the fourth quarter as robust consumer spending provided a boost,
the Commerce Department said. Gross domestic product increased
at a 2.1 percent annualized rate instead of the
previously-reported 1.9 percent pace.
A record-setting rally for stocks in the wake of President
Donald Trump's November election stalled somewhat this month,
with some investors pointing to risks to Trump's agenda,
including tax reform, after his fellow Republicans failed to
pass a healthcare bill.
The GDP report is "basically an affirmation that, hey, at
the end of the day, Washington will do and say whatever they are
going to do, but the economy is marching forward," said Karyn
Cavanaugh, senior market strategist at Voya Investment
Management in New York.
"It’s not just the U.S. economy, but we do see definitely
improvement throughout the world," Cavanaugh said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 69.17 points,
or 0.33 percent, to 20,728.49, the S&P 500 gained 6.93
points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,368.06 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 16.80 points, or 0.28 percent, to 5,914.34.
The Nasdaq closed at a record high after rising for a fifth
Financial shares surged 1.2 percent, with Bank of
America and Citigroup propping up the S&P 500.
The defensive utilities sector was the
worst-performing group, falling 0.7 percent.
Investors are also turning their attention to the impending
first-quarter earnings season to justify lofty valuations for
stocks. The S&P 500 is trading at about 18 times earnings
estimates for the next 12 months against its long-term average
First-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to
rise 10.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"We continue to see decent-to-improving economic data
primarily in employment," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment
officer of Solaris Asset Management in New York. "We are likely
to see a good quarter in terms of earnings, so I think there is
some anticipation perhaps in the market here."
In corporate news, Lululemon Athletica shares
plunged 23.4 percent after the Canadian yoga and leisure apparel
retailer said first-quarter comparable sales were expected to
About 6 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges,
below the 6.8 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.56-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.49-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 99 new highs and 19 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by
Sriraj Kalluvila and Nick Zieminski)