Published: Wed, August 10, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

USA stocks open higher; S&P trades near record highs

The S&P 500 closed 0.2 percent away from its all-time high on Monday and the Nasdaq closed 0.3 percent shy.

The S&P 500 index showed 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 79 new highs and 13 new lows.

The main U.S. stock markets retreated on Monday afternoon with the Standard & Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq Composite falling from record intraday highs as healthcare stocks declined.

"We're probably going to consolidate and then head higher", said John Canally, chief economic strategist for LPL Financial (NasdaqGS: LPLA - news).

Horizon Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:HZNP) is among the top performers on the Nasdaq today, adding 6.4% to $21.40 after its strong second-quarter earnings report, to the delight of a bullish options crowd.

While earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to decline at a slower rate than anticipated at the start of the season, investors worry that the earnings recession may spill into the third quarter.

Six of the 10 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, led by a 0.4 percent rise in the consumer staples.SPLRCS. They had estimated a 0.2 per cent rise on Aug 3.

Gold, a traditional safe-haven asset, fell to a one-week low, while the Japanese yen remained weak, suggesting that the markets were in a risk-on mode. The Nasdaq climbed 12 points, or 0.2%, to 5,225.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.19 percent, on volume of 9,106 contracts. Traders have brought forward their bets for a Federal Reserve rate hike: March 2017 is now the first month with at least even odds, compared with September before the data.

Valeant jumped 16 per cent after maintaining its full-year forecast and saying that it would reorganise its business.

Endo International surged 11 percent to $20.20 after the drugmaker's second-quarter revenue and profit beat estimates. The S&P 500 has rallied 19 percent since hitting a 22-month low back in February.

According to data from Thomson Reuters StarMine, 61 per cent of companies on the STOXX 600 index have beaten or met forecasts with their second quarter results so far, although those earnings are down 15 per cent from a year ago on average.

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