Wall Street hits record highs, S&P 500 pierces 2,500

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NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Wall Street reached record highs on Friday (Sept 15), with the S&P 500 surpassing 2,500 points as telecommunications shares rose and technology bounced back after two days of declines.

The S&P 500 information technology sector rose 0.3 per cent, powered by an Nvidia-led surge in chipmakers, while Apple rose 1.01 per cent in its first gain since unveiling new iPhones on Tuesday.

The semiconductor index surged 1.71 per cent, boosted by Nvidia's 6.32-per-cent jump to a record high after Evercore ISI raised its price target on the stock.

The S&P 500 tech index has been the best performing sector this year, rising more than 25 per cent, far outpacing the broader S&P 500's 11.6-per-cent growth.

AT&T rose 2.15 per cent and Verizon Communications added 1.44 per cent. Along with T-Mobile, they are offering deals for the newest iPhones that are less generous than in the past.

Wall Street largely shrugged off reports showing an unexpected drop in US retail sales last month and the first drop in industrial output since January, both in part due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

"Investors are keeping an eye on the retail sales data, thinking it may be transitory, and are focusing on growth areas such as technology, which is mostly immune to policy decisions in DC and has avoided all the global noise," said Michael Antonelli, managing director of institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

US stocks have surged this year, despite turmoil in the White House, doubts about President Donald Trump's ability to push through his pro-business reforms, uncertainty over the timing of interest rate hikes, and lately, tensions over Pyongyang's missile tests.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.29 per cent to end at 22,268.34 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.18 per cent to 2,500.23, records for both.

The Nasdaq Composite added 0.3 per cent to 6,448.47.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.76-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.47-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

Earlier, North Korea fired a second missile in as many weeks over Japan, drawing criticism from global leaders but barely moving shares as investors await the next catalyst - the Federal Reserve's meeting on Sept 19-20.

The S&P 500 is trading near 17.6 times expected earnings, down from 17.9 at the end of July but still much higher than its 10-year average of 14.3, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

Boeing rose 1.53 per cent to a record high after Canaccord Genuity raised its price target for the stock.

Among the laggards was Oracle, which sank 7.67 per cent, its worst day in more than four years after disappointing forecasts for its profit and cloud business.

About 8.5 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, above the 20-day average of 5.9 billion shares.

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