US stocks surge to new records as oil shares rally

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks jumped to fresh records Thursday (Aug 11), with all three major indices hitting all-time highs due to strong gains in petroleum-linked shares and retailers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 per cent to 18,613.52. The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent to 2,185.79, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent to 5,228.40.

Thursday marked the first time since December 1999 that all three major indices hit a record on the same day, Bloomberg News reported.

The rally was broad-based, but gains were particularly strong for energy shares.

Oil prices rose after Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih reportedly suggested Opec producers could agree to cut output next month.

Dow members Chevron and ExxonMobil gained, along with oil services giants Halliburton and Schlumberger.

Consumer discretionary stocks were another strong sector after Macy’s announced plans to close 100 stores in the US and boost investment in e-commerce. Macy’s jumped 17.1 per cent, while fellow retailer Kohl’s surged 16.2 per cent after reporting better-than-expected earnings.

Other retailers to advance included Best Buy, up 2.6 per cent, and Williams-Sonoma, up 3.7 per cent.

Alibaba gained 5 per cent after reporting a 59 per cent increase in revenue to 32.15 billion yuan (S$6.5 billion) in the first quarter. Yahoo, which holds a large stake in Alibaba, rose 3.4 per cent.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International plunged 10.4 per cent following a Wall Street Journal report that said the Justice Department could criminally charge the drugmaker over its ties to the now-defunct mail-order pharmacy Philidor.