By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEWYORK (Reuters) – A jump in U.S. consumer spending propelled U.S. shares to a record high on Monday and global equities edged upwards, helping offset a weak euro zone sentiment survey and political uncertainty over Spain’s elections.
Major U.S. indexes advanced modestly, with the S&P 500 topping its intraday record of 2,940.91 set on Sept. 21 with a session high of 2,949.52. The benchmark index posted a record closing high last week but had been unable to pierce the intraday mark. Both the S&P and Nasdaq closed at record levels again on Monday.
Economic data showed U.S. consumer spending surged 0.9% in March, the most in more than 9-1/2 years, although inflation remained subdued, supporting the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to hold off on further U.S. interest rate hikes this year.
Sentiment for stocks on Wall Street was also buoyed by the brightening picture of corporate profits, putting some concerns about a possible earnings recession at bay. Refinitiv data showed a 0.2% decline in earnings reports to date for the quarter, a solid improvement from the 2% decline expected at the start of the month.
“It does create pressure to bring more buyers. Today’s headline augments the fear of missing out,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis.
“It’s going to make the bears less bearish or more worried they’re going to get run over.”
The Fed is due to meet this week and will issue its latest policy announcement on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11.06 points, or 0.04%, to 26,554.39, the S&P 500 gained 3.14 points, or 0.11%, to 2,943.02 and the Nasdaq Composite added 15.46 points, or 0.19%, to 8,161.85.
European shares ended a choppy session slightly higher, as investors chose to focus on the positives of a weekend win for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s ruling socialists in Spain’s third election in four years.
Spain’s IBEX 35 index managed to rally after falling nearly 1% to end the session 0.12% higher, and Spanish government bond yields dipped after Sanchez overcame a challenge from right-wing nationalists in elections on Sunday.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.08% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.16%.
U.S. Treasury yields rose in the wake of the consumer spending data, while the dollar slipped against a basket of major currencies as traders awaited more data to convince them whether to add to their bullish positions in the greenback.
Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 7/32 in price to yield 2.527%, from 2.504% late on Friday.
The dollar index fell 0.17%, with the euro up 0.31% to $1.1183.
Oil prices pared early losses of more than $1 a barrel, after dropping nearly 3% on Friday when the market tumbled after U.S. President Donald Trump demanded that producer group OPEC raise output to soften the impact of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
U.S. crude settled up 0.32% at $63.50 per barrel and Brent was last at $72.04, down 0.15% on the day.
(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch, Sinead Carew and April Joyner; Editing by Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish)