S&P 500 notches record as investors see clear sailing

Stock market surge

NEW YORK – The Standard & Poor's 500 hit a record high Monday, fueled by revived energy stocks.

The index rose 11 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 2,402. The Nasdaq composite also hit a new high, gaining 28 points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 6,150. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 75 points, or 0.4 percent, to 20,971, while the Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks rose 9 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,392.

Crude jumped on expectations that the global oil glut may ease. A wide group of oil-producing countries around the world has already cut their production in hopes of supporting the price of oil, and Russia and Saudi Arabia said they want to extend the cuts through the first three months of 2018. Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.01, or 2.1 percent, to settle at $48.85 per barrel. It's hasn't topped $50 in nearly three weeks.

The price of oil has swung sharply in recent years, from more than $100 three years ago to less than $30 last year, as concerns wax and wane that supplies will overwhelm demand. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.23 to $52.16 per barrel on Monday.

The rise in oil's price pushed energy stocks in the S&P 500 to a 0.6 percent gain, one of the largest among the 11 sectors that make up the index.

It's the latest swing for a group of stocks that has tracked the price of oil higher and mostly lower in recent years. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 are still down nearly 10 percent for 2017, while the overall index has climbed 7 percent.

For the most part, signs of a strengthening global economy and improving corporate profits have been enough to allay investors' fears and push markets to new heights. Profits have been rallying not only in the U.S. but also in Europe and other areas that have been struggling for years.

With most of the companies listed on the S&P 500 having reported their earnings for the first quarter, three-quarters of them have seen their earnings per share surpass their mean estimate, according to FactSet.

Stock markets surging on corporate earnings, hope of tax reform

The recent run of calmness is a sharp turnaround from the start of last year, when twitchy investors were quick to sell on worries about the strength of the global economy.

"We do really see this prevailing sense of complacency," said Jon Adams, senior investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management. "I don't think we see any dark clouds on the horizon, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a 5 to 10 percent drawdown from now to year-end."

Adams expects corporate profits to keep improving, which should help support stocks, but he points to several events that could jolt markets. Besides the uncertainty about what will happen on the Korean peninsula or in Washington, upcoming elections in the United Kingdom, France and potentially Italy could also throw markets from their lazy ride.

The euro rose to $1.0974 from $1.0924 late Friday. The dollar rose to 113.71 Japanese yen from 113.41 yen, and the pound rose to $1.2891 from $1.2879.

The 10-year Treasury yield ticked up to 2.34 percent from 2.33 percent late Friday. The 30-year yield rose to 3.01 percent from 2.99 percent late Friday, while the two-year yield held steady at 1.29 percent.