S&P closes at record high, led by banks and utilities

|By:, SA News Editor

The main stock indexes all closed higher for a fourth straight session, including a new record close for the S&P 500, as investors cheered a batch of better than expected economic reports.

The Russell 2000 index, on the move lately after lagging the market for weeks, rallied another 1.4% to close above its 50-day MA; the index of smallcap stocks has gained 4% since May 15.

The financial and tech sectors provided influential leadership, while utilities also were a strong performer; precious metals miners fell as gold prices dropped 2%, attributed to a lessening of geopolitical concerns surrounding Ukraine.

Trading activity remains slow, however, with market volatility readings hovering just above 14-month lows.

Perhaps with an eye toward the uneasy situation in the South China Sea as well as continued Ukraine concerns, Treasurys rose despite the solid economic reports; the 10-year note settled near its best level of the day, up 5 ticks with its yield slipping 2 bps to 2.52%.