Wall St. indexes eke out fresh record highs

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(Reuters) – The three major Wall Street indexes inched up to record highs on Friday, as investors shrugged off North Korea’s latest missile test and domestic economic data that did little to move the needle on the timing of an interest rate hike.

Earlier in the day, Pyongyang fired a second missile in as many weeks over Japan, drawing criticism from global leaders but barely moving shares as investors await the next catalyst – the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Sept. 19-20.

No monetary policy change is expected at the meet, but the odds of a December rate hike jumped on Thursday after a strong report on consumer prices, a closer read through on inflation, which the central bank is closely monitoring.

U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell last month, the Commerce Department said, while another report showed industrial output in August notched its first decline since January. Both readings included the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

“The retail sales data is maybe seen as a one-off and we need to see a pattern in retail sales to suggest that consumer spending is slowing,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director of institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

“We could still see a bounce back in retail from construction related spending due to Harvey.”

At 10:56 a.m. ET (1456 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 47.88 points, or 0.22 percent, at 22,251.36 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 2.53 points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,498.15.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 31.22 points, or 0.49 percent, at 6,460.31. The tech sector .SPLRCT jumped 0.38 percent, powered by Apple and chip stocks.

The semiconductor index .SOX surged 1.6 percent, boosted by a near 6 percent pop in Nvidia (NVDA.O) to a record high after a bullish broker call.

The broader S&P tech index has been the best performing sector this year, rising more than 25 percent, far outpacing the broader S&P’s 11.5 percent growth.

Also helping tech was Apple’s (AAPL.O) first gains since the launch of the new iPhones. The stock was up 1.33 percent.

Boeing (BA.N) hit a record high, powering the Dow for the second day in a row, after a price target hike from Canaccord Genuity and new orders wins.

Among the laggards was Oracle (ORCL.N), which sank 6.5 percent, headed for its worst day in more than 4 years, after disappointing forecasts for its profit and cloud business.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,356 to 1,346. On the Nasdaq, 1,489 issues rose and 1,185 fell.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza

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