Nasdaq hits fresh record as rate hike expectations dim

NEW YORK (AFP) - The tech-rich Nasdaq vaulted to a fresh record on Tuesday (Sept 6) as lacklustre US economic data boosted confidence the Federal Reserve will continue to keep interest rates low.

Key gainers included Amazon, Facebook and Tesla Motors as data from the Institute for Supply Management showed slowing services sector activity in August compared with July.

The Nasdaq jumped 0.5 per cent to 5,275.91 points, up about 14 points from the last record set August 15.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 per cent at 18,538.12, while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent to 2,186.48.

"The headline appears to be 'bad news is good news' again as investors are taking weaker-than-expected non-manufacturing data and translating it into 'lower for longer' for the Federal Reserve," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.

Spectra Energy jumped 13.4 per cent after agreeing to be acquired by Canadian pipeline company Enbridge in an all-stock deal valued at US$28 billion (S$37 billion). Enbridge rose 3.9 per cent.

EOG Resources, a midsized oil and gas producer, rose 6.7 per cent on news it will buy private Yales Petroleum for US$2.5 billion.

The Enbridge and EOG deals boosted the petroleum sector, with Dow member ExxonMobil winning 1.3 per cent, Halliburton 1 per cent and Anadarko Petroleum 1.2 per cent.

US-listed Chinese companies rose with equity markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Alibaba climbed 4.6 per cent, Baidu 6.5 per cent and 3.8 per cent.

General Electric shed 0.8 per cent after announcing US$1.4 billion in 3D printing sector acquisitions. 3D printing companies Stratasys and 3D Systems rose 3.8 per cent and 5.6 per cent, respectively.

Truck maker Navistar soared 40.7 per cent on news that Volkswagen bought a 16.6 per cent stake in the company for US$256 million. Volkswagen plans to launch a technology and supply chain venture with the US company.