1-2-18 4:14 PM EST | Email Article
By Christopher Whittall and Akane Otani 

Rallying technology and consumer-discretionary shares pushed the Nasdaq Composite toward a fresh record in the first trading session of 2018.

After a banner year for markets around the world, many investors say they are optimistic that the long U.S. stock rally can continue in the year ahead.

Firming global growth and solid corporate earnings have helped lift stocks to fresh highs, even as some investors have grown nervous over the length of the rally.

That backdrop should help major indexes keep rising in 2018, many investors and analysts say, although some expect stock gains to slow.

"We'd expect the global expansion to continue and drive equities to new highs in the process," said Shoqat Bunglawala, head of the global portfolio solutions group for EMEA at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 88 points, or 0.4%, to 24807 on Tuesday after notching its second-biggest yearly gain of the past decade in 2017. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.3%, approaching its first close above the 7000 level.

The tech-heavy index first crossed 7000 during intraday trading on Dec. 18.

Shares of technology companies jumped Tuesday, reversing course after sliding in the last trading session of 2017. Alphabet shares rose 2%, while Activision Blizzard added 1.4%.

Meanwhile, analyst upgrades helped push shares of consumer-discretionary companies higher.

Nordstrom jumped 3.% after J.P. Morgan analysts upgraded their rating for the stock to "neutral" from "underweight," while Netflix climbed 4.8% after Macquarie bumped up its rating for the stock to "outperform" from "neutral." The S&P 500 consumer-discretionary sector rose 1.5%, on course to end the day as the best-performing group in the S&P 500.

As major indexes climbed, government bonds and their stock-market proxies pulled back.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.465% from 2.409% on Friday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Shares of utilities companies, which many investors consider bondlike because of their hefty dividends, fell 1% in the S&P 500, among the biggest decliners of the broad index's 11 sectors.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.2%, weighed down by declines in real-estate stocks.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 2%, thanks in part to advances in shares of Chinese messaging-and-gaming heavyweight Tencent Holdings.

China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.2%, while markets in Japan were closed in observance of the holidays.

Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

Write to Christopher Whittall at christopher.whittall@wsj.com and Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 02, 2018 16:14 ET (21:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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