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S&P 500 Futures Hit Record as Investors Shrug Off North Korea Threat

U.S. stocks advanced Friday, with the S&P 500 Index closing at a new all-time high as investors shrugged off North Korea’s latest provocation.

The benchmark S&P 500 Index rose 0.2% to 2,500.23, a new record. The index has risen in four of the last five sessions, growing its year-to-date return to 11.7%.

Most sectors tracked by the large-cap index finished higher, with telecommunications services rising 1.8%. Shares of financials companies climbed 0.5%. Information technology stocks rose by a similar amount as a sector. Consumer staples and industrials also finished higher on Friday.

Healthcare and discretionary shares were the main declines, each falling at least 0.2%.

Japanese authorities confirmed on Friday that North Korea launched its second missile over their country in as many months. The missile was launched at 6:57 a.m. local time and landed in the Pacific Ocean. The missile test came just days after the United Nations Security Council approved fresh sanctions against the Communist regime of Kim Jong Un.

The Japanese yen, a highly liquid reserve currency that is used to hedge against geopolitical risk, spiked immediately after the news broke. However, the gains evaporated just a few minutes later and the yen actually finished lower for the day.

U.S. retail sales and industrial production declined unexpectedly last month, as Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the economy of Texas. Receipts at retail stores fell 0.2% from July, following a downwardly revised gain of 0.3% the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Expectations were for a gain of 0.3%.

Industrial production, a broadest measure of factory output, slid 0.9% compared to July. Analysts had called for a monthly increase of 0.1%.

S&P 500 Index