(Bloomberg) — The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fluctuated near an all-time closing high as a drop in consumer confidence offset optimism about growth in Europe. Treasuries fell, while oil headed for a third week of gains.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.1 percent to 2,090.18 at 10:10 a.m. in New York, a point below its Dec. 29 closing record. The index briefly rose to an all-time high of 2,093.79 before paring the advance.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.6 percent to the highest since 2007. Greek 10-year securities advanced for a second day, boosting Italian and Spanish debt. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes increased two basis points to 2.01 percent. Gold gained for a second day, and oil erased a weekly decline.
U.S. consumer confidence fell in February as gas prices started to rise from a six-year low and damped optimism about the economy. The euro-area economy picked up momentum at the end of last year, with Germany reasserting itself as the driver of growth, offsetting weakness in Greece and Italy.
The value of global equities climbed to more than $66 trillion this week, near a record, as concern eased over the Greek and Ukrainian crises and corporate profits at companies from Cisco Systems Inc. to PepsiCo Inc. topped estimates.
“The negative concerns don’t seem to be having an impact in the market,” Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. LLC in Newton, Massachusetts, said by telephone. “People are realizing that the situation in Greece is not systemically problematic. Oil’s been beaten up, that’s turning around.”
The S&P 500 approached its first record in 2015, bolstered by the biggest three-month rise in hiring in 17 years and signs of easing tensions between Greece and its euro-area creditors. The index has more than tripled during the bull market that is approaching the end of its sixth year.
The S&P 500 has rallied 4.8 percent in February after sinking 3.1 percent in January for its worst month in a year. Since the start of 2015, the index has experienced three declines of more than 2.7 percent, only to recover within a week each time, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The Nasdaq Composite rose Thursday to the highest level in nearly 15 years. The technology gauge closed below 4,000 twice last year, on Feb. 3 and April 11, but has rallied nearly 22 percent since then. The gauge is now 3.8 percent below its all- time closing high of 5,048.62, set on March 10, 2000.
The strongest dollar in a decade and a plunge in oil prices that threaten investment and earnings growth have tested the resilience of investors as the bull market nears its sixth anniversary. Concern that European growth is slipping amid signs of deflation, coupled with a showdown that led to speculation Greece would exit from the region’s shared currency also weighed on investor sentiment.
Those concerns eased this week, as data showed the economy in the euro area expanded 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the European Union’s statistics office. German gross domestic product grew 0.7 percent in the final three months of 2014, more than twice as much as estimated, after expanding 0.1 percent in the previous three months, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said.
The Stoxx 600 advanced for a second day, heading for a 0.8 percent weekly gain. The DAX, the second-best stock index among developed markets this year, rose as much as 0.9 percent.
Greece’s ASE Index climbed 5 percent, heading for its highest close since Dec. 10, and the nation’s 10-year yield fell 88 basis points, or 0.88 percentage point, to 9.14 percent, leaving it lower for a second week.
Greece is seeking a “new contract” with the euro area on how to continue its bailout, as talks resume and both sides signal willingness to compromise, according to government officials taking part in the talks.