U.S. stocks hold near record highs, Brent oil hits four-year low

Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:17pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock prices held steady on Tuesday after the Dow and Standard & Poor's 500 hit record intraday highs for a fifth straight session, while the dollar rose against the yen on the prospect of a delay in a planned sales tax hike in Japan.

Oil prices fell further on the stronger dollar and robust output from U.S. shale fields, with Brent crude dropping to a four-year low below $82 a barrel.

"We have come pretty far, pretty fast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the market consolidate a little, in the form of hovering around here or pulling back a little bit," David Lebovitz, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds in New York, said of U.S. equities.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 1.16 points, or 0.01 percent, at 17,614.9, the S&P 500 closed up 1.42 points, or 0.07 percent, at 2,039.68 and the Nasdaq Composite finished up 8.94 points, or 0.19 percent, at 4,660.56. [.N]

European shares were boosted by positive corporate results. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.3 percent, as strength in telecoms stocks offset a fall in Italian shares.

Earlier, a 2.1 percent rise propelled Tokyo's Nikkei to its highest close since October 2007 on speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might postpone a sales tax hike planned for next October and call a snap election.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 nations, edged up 0.2 percent to 420.88.

The rally in Japanese stocks helped push the dollar to a seven-year high against the yen. The greenback reached 116.11 yen in European trading on the EBS trading system before easing to 115.48, still up 0.5 percent on the day.   Continued...

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange November 11, 2014.     REUTERS/Remote/Stringer