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May 19 2015, 07.50am GMT


On Monday, U.S. stocks saw modest gains, while both the S&P 500 and Dow industrials moved high enough to end the day on record levels.

Despite this, Wall Street trading volumes were thinner than usual. This comes as investors are assessing the impact of claims by Federal Reserve members who again endorsed the delay of an interest rate increase until 2016.

By the close of trading, the S&P 500 index (SPX) increased 0.3%, or 6.47 points, to 2,129.20, which saw the index close at a record high for the 3rd consecutive session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 0.1%, or 26.32 points, to 18,298.88, ending also at an all-time high level. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) went up 0.6%, or 30.15 points, to 5,078.44, just short of its record levels.

Charles Stanley’s technical analyst, Bill McNamara, noted that the S&P 50o’s move to a fresh all-time high the past week came right before the index looked to lose its momentum.

Meanwhile, BTIG chief technical strategist, Katie Stockton, has now targeted a short-term shift for the S&P 500 to about 2,180 just behind the move on Friday. Stating in a note to her clients on May 17, she added, “we expect” follow through on the upside as investors move away from selling in May. She added that pullbacks are always a possibility; however, the path of lesser resistance is higher.

In a note to investors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote that until such a time that U.S. macro data is unmistakably robust enough for the Fed to safely increase interest rates, they believe that investors will be plagued with average returns, flash crashes and volatile trade rotations.

However, some analysts remained upbeat around the S&P 500 index’s ability to continue building on the latest highs regardless of the relatively lukewarm 2015 so far. Interestingly, the S&P 500 increase 3.4% this year.

Charles Evans, Fed Chicago President, on Monday reiterated his stance that the central bank should hold off hiking short-term interest rates this year. Evans further added that the weak 1st quarter data was a sign that the Fed should ‘pause’ and that he would like to see it confirmed first that they are in fact a “transitory aberration”.

MT4 Chart: S&P 500

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