Wall Street Ends Strengthening on Higher S&P Index

US stocks opened higher on Friday, with major indexes trading at or near records as concerns over the political situation with North Korea appeared to ease.

In fresh deal news, shares of Orbital ATK soared, up 20.1 percent as of 2.09pm in NY after Northrop Grumman said it agreed to buy the missile and rocket maker for about US$7.8 billion in cash. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 hit intraday records in early trading, while the Nasdaq was within a few points of its own. The yield fell to 2.016 percent on September 8, the lowest level since November 10, 2016.

The dollar was up 0.5 per cent against the Japanese currency at ¥111.38. Rates are forecast to stay on hold, but traders will be looking hints if more hike are coming later in the year.#. The European Central Bank, meanwhile, is expected to shed more light on plans to exit its extraordinary stimulus next month.

"You just had that little momentum spurt after it went through 2,500 but it is kind of running out of steam and is going to bide its time until Wednesday, when they listen to (Fed chief) Janet" (Yellen), said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neil Securities in NY.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMZ7, +0.09% inched up by 14 points to 22,313, while those for the S&P 500 index ESZ7, +0.08% climbed 1.05 points to 2,503.75. Gold hit a 2-1/2 week low, with spot gold down 0.6 percent at $1,311.51 an ounce. Shares of Google also were down 0.6 per cent.

Analysts say stocks should continue to edge higher as long as data suggest growth in the USA economy remains solid but with few reasons for any big moves, as Q3 earnings season has not yet started and potential geopolitical risks loom on the horizon. Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Vivek Arya raised his price target on Monday by US$25 to US$210, the second highest on the Street behind Evercore ISI's US$250, according to Reuters. On the Nasdaq, 1,857 issues rose and 999 fell.

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