Belfast Telegraph

US stocks make small gains as media companies prosper

US stocks have made small gains as media companies and sellers of beauty products and food moved higher.

Major indexes added to their winning streak and record highs.

Beauty products maker Ulta rose after a strong first-quarter report and competitor Coty climbed as well.

Media companies including Comcast and Disney also advanced while video game and drug companies slipped.

The market has been steady in recent months, and with investors looking forward to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, trading was light.

It was the seventh gain in a row for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite following their biggest loss this year.

"Investors have been conditioned over multiple years to buy the dip any time there's a market pullback," said Jason Draho, the head of American tactical asset allocation for UBS Wealth Management. He said that is one reason stocks have been so steady lately.

The S&P 500 index added 0.75 points to 2,145.82. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 2.67 points to 21,080.28.

The Nasdaq composite rose 4.94 points, or 0.1%, to 6,210.19. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks fell 1.14 points, or 0.1%, to 1,382.24.

The VIX, an index that is called Wall Street's "fear gauge" because it measures how much volatility investors expect, fell for the seventh day in a row.

After a huge spike last Wednesday, the 27-year-old index is trading near all-time lows. It sank to 9.81 on Friday. The only time it was lower was late December 1993.

The Commerce Department said the US economy grew 1.2% in the first quarter, which was still weak but better than it originally estimated.

Mr Draho, of UBS Wealth Management, said that when the economy is steady, the market usually is too.

The US economy and stock market have both been moving up for eight years.

Mr Draho said that as a bull market gets older, stocks do not move in the same direction as often. When one stock or one sector rises and another falls, that makes the overall market flatter and less volatile.

AP

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