The US markets closed higher on Monday, with the Dow notching its 40th record close of the year as investors piled into financials and materials shares. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that US seeks a peaceful solution and wants to bring North Korea to the table for constructive, productive dialogue. A highlight for this week will be the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting, which wraps up Wednesday. No policy change is expected but it could mark the beginning of a new era as the Fed is expected to announce details on the unwinding of its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.
On the economy front, builder confidence in the market for newly built single-family homes dropped in September, on worries that the recent hurricanes will make it difficult to find workers and materials. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo housing market index fell 3 points to 64, and August's reading was downwardly revised by a point. The concern is that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma did so much damage that construction workers will flock to Texas and Florida for rebuilding. Concern about the ability to find qualified workers has been a problem for some time, and the hiring rate in the construction industry, 5.3%, is well above the national average of 3.8%. The index still is in optimistic territory, given that any reading over 50 indicates good conditions. The component gauging current sales conditions fell 4 points to 70, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months also dropped 4 points, to 74, and the component measuring buyer traffic slipped 1 point to 47.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 63.01 points or 0.28 percent to 22,331.35, the Nasdaq gained 6.17 points or 0.10 percent to 6,454.64 and the S&P 500 edged higher by 3.64 points or 0.15 percent to 2,503.87.