Kraft Heinz leads US stocks to record highs

  • 17 February 2017
  • From the section Business
NYSE traders Image copyright Reuters

(Close) Wall Street scraped to fresh highs, with Kraft shares leading the way after the food giant revealed a $143bn takeover offer for Unilever.

Shares in Kraft Heinz rose by 11%, despite a rebuffed takeover bid for the UK's consumer goods firm.

The main US stock indexes eked out gains, having spent most of the day in negative territory.

The Dow Jones index rose by 4 points to 20,624.05, while the broader S&P index also gained 4 points to 2,351.16.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq also finished at a new high, rising 24 points to 5,838.58.

The surge in Kraft's shares helped other consumer goods firms, with a 4.3% increase in Colgate-Palmolive and a 4.2% rise for Kimberly-Clark.

Kraft indicated it would pursue the Unilever offer and said it looked forward to reaching an agreement, although Unilever said there was no basis for further discussion.

Still, gains in US shares were more subdued than in recent weeks, in which a stock rally - linked to President Trump's economic pledges - had taken US markets on a record-breaking run.

"People don't want unnecessary risk heading into a three-day weekend," said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "This is more about taking off risk than about aggressive selling."

US markets will be closed on Monday for Presidents Day.