S&P sets sights on new record close

<p>The S&P index was close to a new record high again today.</p>

US markets performed strongly again yesterday (August 20th) and the S&P 500 was within striking distance of setting a new record high.

It closed just shy of its current its record close of 1,987.98 and also grew to within just a handful of points of the index's intra-day high of 1,991.39, reports Reuters. Both of these records were set by the S&P on July 24th, but August has been another good month for the US markets so far.

Investors responded positively to the release of the latest minutes from the most recent two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which took place in late July. The minutes refer to when the Fed cut its monthly bond-buying program by an additional $10 billion (£6 billion) and the organisation seems positive about the US' economic future.

"The market was absolutely being driven by the Fed. It started out strongly, then it looked like a bit of capitulation before the statement came out, and then we obviously saw a big sigh of relief," said Drew Wilson, an equity analyst at Fenimore Asset Management in Cobleskill, New York.

Stock markets in the US are now keenly awaiting the annual meeting of top central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which is set to get underway today and will run until Saturday. Among the big hitters present at the gathering will be the new chair of the Fed Janet Yellen, who recently took over the position from Ben Bernanke.

Ms Yellen had been US president Barack Obama's preferred choice to assume leadership of the Federal Reserve she is scheduled to speak on Friday. It is expected she will air her concerns about the ongoing slack in the US labour market, although she will also highlight the success stories in the country's economic recovery.

Yesterday's trading saw the S&P 500 gain 4.91 points to finish at 1,986.51 after rising 0.25 per cent, while the Dow Jones industrial average was up by 0.35 per cent after it increased its overall value by 59.54 points to end the session at 16,979.13.

The picture was slightly less positive on the Nasdaq, which saw its value slip by 1.03 points, a drop of just 0.02 per cent, to finish at 4,526.48.

Find up to date information on spread betting strategies at City Index

Build your confidence risk free
Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

StoneX Financial Ltd (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.