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Nasdaq posts first 10-day win streak since Feb 2015

  • Bloomberg reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into the business dealings of President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and other associates.
  • The three major indexes hit session lows on the report before bouncing back.
  • The Nasdaq composite closed higher for a 10th straight day, helped by gains in biotech stocks.

U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed near record levels Thursday as earnings season got underway, amid renewed uncertainty about the Trump administration's ability to implement its pro-growth proposals.

Bloomberg reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into the business dealings of President Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and other associates. This comes a day after Trump warned Muller against it during an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday.

The three major indexes hit session lows on the report before bouncing back.

The Nasdaq composite closed up 0.08 percent at 6390, a record close and its first 10-day win streak since February 2015. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) closed up 1 percent, while Apple fell half a percent.

The Nasdaq also hit an all-time high of 6,398.26 earlier in the session.

"Every day it seems like one or two components that drag the Dow, and the S&P and Nasdaq hit record highs because on balance, earnings season's going well," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "It feels like you've got a real focused shift from the macro to the micro."

The S&P 500 hit an all-time high of 2,477.62 but came less than a point shy of closing at a record, falling 0.02 percent to 2,473.45. Telecommunications led four sectors higher, while materials was the greatest decliner.

The Dow Jones industrial average lagged the S&P and the Nasdaq, closing nearly 29 points lower, or 0.13 percent, at 21,611.78.

Home Depot fell 4 percent as the greatest contributor to losses on the index after Sears said it will sell Alexa-enabled appliances on Amazon. Sears shares closed up 10.6 percent on the news.

UnitedHealth was the greatest contributor to gains in the Dow. The index closed within a third of a percent of its all-time high.

Symbol
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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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The Dow transports closed nearly 1 percent lower, dragged down by CH Robinson shares.

Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt, said the equity market has been able to bounce back from other negative headlines out of Washington. However, "As these things pile up, especially with the market at an all-time high, there will be a reaction in the market."

Treasury yields fell after the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged Thursday, as was widely expected. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield hit 2.255 percent, its lowest level since June 29.

However, the euro erased earlier losses against the U.S. dollar after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said policymakers would discuss potential changes to its bond-buying program this fall.

The euro leaped nearly 1 percent to hit a high of $1.1655, its highest since Aug. 24, 2015, the same day the Dow Jones industrial average briefly fell 1,000 points.

"Draghi is not really committing to anything but it seems that they are headed to a September announcement which they have to be because the current QE is expected to expire in December," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, in a note. "We know that it will get extended but they need to at least tell the markets what their plan is with that into 2018."

Gold futures for August delivery settled up 0.28 percent at $1,245.50 an ounce.

U.S. crude oil futures for August delivery settled 0.7 percent lower at $46.79 a barrel after earlier hitting its highest since June 7. The contract rolled to September Thursday, and the September contract settled down 0.85 percent at $46.92 a barrel. Traders awaited a key meeting of oil producers on Monday.

Decliners were in step with advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 752 million and a composite volume of 3.16 billion as of the close.

The CBOE Volatility Index (.VIX), considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded lower near 9.6.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on January 5, 2017, in New York City.
Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on January 5, 2017, in New York City.

On Wednesday, the S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq notched record highs on the back of better-than-expected earnings.

"We've seen a pretty sharp rally lately," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. "Anytime you see this it's not unusual to see some people take profits off the table."

Overall, most companies have reported solid quarterly results thus far in the earnings season. Of the 76 S&P 500 companies that have reported as of Thursday morning, 76 percent have topped earnings expectations while 74 percent have exceeded sales estimates, according to data from The Earnings Scout.

Microsoft, Visa and eBay were some of the major names set to report after the close. Blackstone, Travelers, Philip Morris and Polaris were among the companies that reported earlier on Thursday.

Gains in tech stocks have also helped the broader indexes reach records, with the sector closing at its highest level since March 2000 on Wednesday.