S&P 500 and other major indices close at record high

S&P 500 and other major indices close at record high”

At 12:40 p.m. ET (1640 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 39.67 points, or 0.18 percent, at 22,243.15 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 16.92 points, or 0.26 percent, at 6,446.00.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.14 percent to set a new high for an index that tracks the performance of more than 2,400 stocks in 47 countries.

The Russell 2000 is up 67.89 points, or 5 percent.

Japan's Nikkei closed 0.5 percent higher.

The major European markets have moved to the downside on the day. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 64.86 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,268.34, its fourth record close in a row.

The pound surged to $1.3575 from $1.3398, its highest since mid-2016.

US crude CLcv1 fell 0.2 percent to $49.79 per barrel and Brent LCOcv1 was last at $55.51, up 0.07 percent on the day.

For the week, the Dow led the way, rising 2.2%; the S&P 500 added 1.6% and the Nasdaq rose 1.4%.

North Korea fired a missile over Japan for the second times in under a month but while this sent the Japanese yen tumbling, USA investors were sanguine.

Any dip in the equity market because of North Korean missile tests offer a buying opportunity for investors, he said. "The behavior of the retail investor is more important than ever".

"Disappointing retail sales growth suggests 3Q consumer spending growth will slow markedly from 2Q's 3.3% rate; however, we still think other components can provide offsetting support within the GDP report", said James Knightley, the chief worldwide economist at ING.

"Retail sales numbers from the United States are pretty disappointing".

Excluding a slump in auto sales, retail sales rose by 0.2% in August after climbing by 0.4% in July. "This is significant because it feeds into the consumer spending numbers for GDP and marks quite a slowdown from the3.3% annualised pace of growth seen in 2Q", Knightley added.

Airlines were expected to be in focus in early trading after JP Morgan issued a note on the sector.

United Continental, Spirit Airlines and American Airlines fell between 1.20% and 2.10% after JPMorgan downgraded all three stocks.

The former saw its price target slashed to US$53 from US$61 and the latter from US$84 to US$68. Coca-Cola lost 49 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $46.01 and grocery store operator Kroger fell 30 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $21.43.

POWER PLAY: Boeing rose $3.33, or 1.4 percent, to $248.58 as the aerospace company continued to set record highs.

CENTRAL BANKS: U.K. stocks fell for a second day and the pound rose again after as Bank of England officials confirmed they expect to start raising interest rates for the first time in a decade in coming months. Preparation for the hurricane boosts retail sales as households stock up on groceries, housing products and supplies, then sales stall during the storm and re-accelerate after as households fix, replace and rebuild.

Economists had expected retail sales to inch up by 0.1% compared to the 0.6% increase originally reported for the previous month. Stocks are falling as the pound rises because many companies on the FTSE 100 are multinationals whose earnings overseas are decreased when translated back into pounds.

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