Stocks move higher in preholiday trading
NEW YORK » Wall Street drifted to a slightly higher finish yesterday as investors shied away from taking new positions in a holiday-shortened week. Despite the market's languid tone, Google Inc. surpassed $500 for the first time.
Investors' hesitation came after Wall Street snapped a six-session winning streak on Monday, concerned that a recent run-up has driven some stocks too high. No big moves were expected before Thanksgiving, although retailers remain in focus ahead of one of the biggest shopping days of the year on Friday.
But investors still put more money into the nation's No. 1 search engine. Google rallied more than 2 percent to a new record, hitting an intraday high of $509.88. Shares have soared since the company priced its initial public offering at $85 a share in August 2004.
Boeing Co. led the Dow Jones industrials after the aerospace company received a $5.5 billion order for planes from Korean Air Lines Co. Also, Medtronic Inc., the biggest maker of heart defibrillators, rose after it reported earnings above Wall Street projections late Monday.
"We've been seeing a slow down trickle in volume over the past few days because of the holiday," said Scott Fullman, director of investment strategy for Hapoalim Securities USA. "The market is just holding here, trying to work off a little bit of its overbought conditions that resulted from the rise that we've had over the past month or so."
The Dow rose 5.05, or 0.04 percent, to 12,321.59.
Broader stock indicators also edged higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 2.31, or 0.16 percent, at 1,402.81, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 2.12, or 0.09 percent, to 2,454.84.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 1.28, or 0.16 percent, to 791.90.
Bonds edged higher with the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note falling to 4.58 percent from 4.60 percent on Monday.
The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
Oil closed higher, with a barrel of light sweet crude up $1.37 at $60.17 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Richard Cripps, chief market strategist for Stifel Nicolaus, said the choppy market conditions are common at this point in the year. However, he warned that investors should not count out big price moves as volume on the New York Stock Exchange is still about 10 percent below normal levels.
"I won't go so far as to say investors should cancel holiday plans with the family to watch the final tick on yesterday," he said, "but I'd say this week still present fresh opportunities."