Stocks rose to a record high Friday, capping the best month since October, as improving consumer confidence and speculation that the Federal Reserve will support the economy offset concern over escalating conflict in Ukraine.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.3 percent to 1,859.45 at 4 p.m. in New York, capping a 1.3 percent gain for the week that left the gauge 4.3 percent higher in February. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 49.06 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,321.71. About 7.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 19 percent higher than the 30-day average.
“We continue to be in an environment of recovery and modest growth, but not at a point of excessive strength that would cause a reversal in Federal Reserve policy when it came to raising interest rates,” James Abate, who oversees about $1 billion as chief investment officer at Centre Asset Management in New York, said by phone. “It’s positive for stocks.”
Principal Financial climbed 1.6 percent to $45.35. The life insurer was boosted to outperform from market perform at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. Concern over the company’s business in emerging markets has been overdone, analyst Jeffrey Schuman wrote in a note to clients.
Monster Beverage surged 4 percent to $74.
The distributor of energy drinks and fruit juices reported fourth-quarter sales of $540.8 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $526.3 million.
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers rose 3 percent to a record $62.08 as the retailer agreed to meet with Men’s Wearhouse to discuss a potential merger. Jos. A. Bank rejected a $1.78 billion bid from Men’s Wearhouse late yesterday because it failed to meet the interests of investors.
The prospect of talks marks the latest twist in an almost five-month takeover battle between the two purveyors of discount suits. Men’s Wearhouse climbed 6.7 percent to $53.79.
Apple slipped 0.3 percent to $526.24 as shareholders showed support for Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook at its annual meeting. Apple recently faced down activist investor Carl Icahn, who had called on the company to increase its share buybacks.
Earlier this month, Icahn dropped a plan to force a vote over the issue, saying he was satisfied with statements by Cook that Apple had bought back $14 billion of its own shares in two weeks, bringing its repurchases to more than $40 billion in a year.
Deckers Outdoor dropped 12 percent to $74.35 after projecting a loss of 16 cents a share for the current quarter.
Analysts had estimated a profit of 10 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Southwestern Energy Co. fell 4.2 percent to $41.34 for the third-biggest decline in the S&P 500. The natural gas producer’s results from the Brown Dense holdings in the U.S. were disappointing, Tim Rezvan, an analyst with Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. in New York, wrote in a note to clients.