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Thu 23 Aug 2018 12:47 AM

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US stocks mark longest 'bull market' ever after mixed session

'Longest bull run in the history of the stock market, congratulations America!' says President Donald Trump on Twitter

US stocks mark longest 'bull market' ever after mixed session

US stocks graduated into the longest-ever "bull market" Wednesday after a mixed session as investors weighed optimism over trade talks with uncertainty generated by US political turmoil.

The S&P 500 finished down less than 0.1 percent at 2,861.82, marking a more than nine-year stretch during which Wall Street avoided a drop of 20 percent from its peak during the stretch.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3 percent to 25,733.60, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 7,889.10.

"Longest bull run in the history of the stock market, congratulations America!" President Donald Trump said on Twitter just after the market closed.

Market watchers were cheered by talks between US and Chinese officials that started Wednesday to try to avert further escalation of the trade conflict between the two economic giants.

Meanwhile, US and Mexican officials this week were expected to wrap up weeks of discussions on the rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement that could pave the way for Canada to rejoin the talks and move to a final agreement.

Progress on those two fronts helped blunt the impact of Tuesday's dramatic political developments, the conviction of Trump's former campaign director and a guilty plea by Trump's ex-lawyer.

"The political scandals are obviously not good news, but we don't know where it will go," said Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth Management.

"The fact that the stock market is holding up very well is indicative that investors are concerned by other things than politics right now."

Cahill said the record bull run was a sign "the economy is doing well and there is no reason to believe a recession is imminent."

The Federal Reserve signaled in meeting minutes it is girding to lift interest rates once again "soon" amid strong economic growth, even as it warned that an escalation of the trade disputes could dent the economy.

Key gainers included retailers Target and Lowe's, which rose 3.2 percent and 5.8 percent after reporting strong earnings. But another retailer, Urban Outfitters, slid 4.7 percent after its report.

Petroleum-linked shares were another strong area, with ExxonMobil winning 1.4 percent, Chevron 0.8 percent and ConocoPhillips 1.6 percent.

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