US STOCKS-S&P 500 briefly tops 2,000 as biotechs, financials lead

Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:29pm EDT
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* Biotechs help lift S&P above milestone 2,000

* Hope for European stimulus lifts financials

* Data on service sector, housing market below forecasts

* Indexes up: Dow 0.51 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.41 pct (Updates to early afternoon trading, changes byline)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, Aug 25 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 briefly hurdled above 2,000 for the first time on Monday, with financials and biotechnology stocks lifting the benchmark index to a record as investors make equities their asset of choice.

The significance of the milestone was more psychological than fundamental, and it represents the high point of a six-year rally that has boosted retirement accounts for Americans from Wall Street to Main Street, though the gains have largely benefited wealthier Americans. On a total-return basis the S&P 500 has more than tripled from its 2009 low hit during the financial crisis.

The day's gains were broad, with each of the 10 primary sectors on the benchmark S&P index advancing. Advancers were comfortably outpacing decliners on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.

"Though (S&P 2,000) is a major mile marker and enormous optical, it is very much in keeping with the general tone of how the market has behaved over the past few weeks," said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Clearpool Group in New York.   Continued...