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U.S. Stocks Kick Off 2018 With Gains

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01/02/2018 | 07:01am CEST
By Christopher Whittall and Kenan Machado 

U.S. stocks rose in the first trading session of 2018, following steep price increases across global indexes last year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 115 points, or 0.5%, to 24834 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 rose 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4%.

Many investors head into 2018 confident that the yearslong market rally can continue amid a strengthening global recovery and corporate earnings growth. Soaring stock prices added more than $9 trillion in market value to equity markets in 2017.

Those steep gains have made some investors cautious. But many are penciling in further stock price rises in 2018 thanks to firming global growth.

"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.

Mr. Bunglawala added that he expects stock price rises "to moderate given the strong pace we've seen recently" and to be punctuated with short periods of volatility as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.4%, dragged down by declines in real-estate stocks.

Equities in Hong Kong and mainland China led gains in the Asia-Pacific region Tuesday. The Hang Seng Index rose 2%, thanks in part to advances by Chinese messaging-and-gaming heavyweight Tencent Holdings Ltd. Tech stocks broadly notched gains after suffering steep declines last year amid a global pullback from the sector.

Solid Chinese manufacturing data showed the sector remained healthy, said Krystal Tan of Capital Economics. Global economic growth "and accommodative domestic monetary policy should help keep Asian manufacturing sectors in good shape," she said.

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

The U.S. dollar started 2018 as it ended last year -- lower. The WSJ Dollar Index, a measure of the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 others, fell 0.4% Tuesday.

In bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was at 2.436% Tuesday, according to Tradeweb, from 2.409% on Friday. Yields rise as bond prices fall.

Write to Christopher Whittall at christopher.whittall@wsj.com and Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP -1.49% 2568.1 End-of-day quote.-22.51%
DJ INDUSTRIAL -0.35% 25250.55 Delayed Quote.2.15%
HANG SENG 0.02% 25415.22 Real-time Quote.-13.76%
NASDAQ 100 -1.24% 7068.6706 Delayed Quote.11.89%
NASDAQ COMP. -0.88% 7430.7436 Delayed Quote.8.60%
S&P 500 -0.59% 2750.79 Real-time Quote.3.50%
US DOLLAR INDEX -0.18% 95.06 End-of-day quote.3.49%
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