US stock market surges to record highs

US stock market surges to record highs

New York: The New York Stock Exchange’s key indexes set new record highs on Thursday, fueled by expectations that the US Federal Reserve will cut interest rates.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 227.88 points, or 0.85 percent, to close at 27,088.08 points, while the S&P 500 advanced 6.84 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,999.91, also a record close, the Efe news agency reported.

It was the first time the Dow crossed the 27,000-point threshold and the second consecutive session where the S&P burst through the 3,000-point barrier before retreating at the closing bell.

Thursday’s only negative note was sounded by the Nasdaq index, comprising mainly technology stocks, which fell 6.49 points, or 0.08 percent, to 8,196.04 points.

The strongest sectors were industry, up 0.71 percent, and finance, with a gain of 0.60 percent.

Shares of real estate and property firms declined 1.21 percent.

Traders were upbeat at the opening bell based on comments Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made the previous day in testimony to the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services.

Market analysts interpreted Powell’s remarks as a clear sign that the Federal Reserve may cut its benchmark federal-funds rate at the July 30-31 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank’s policy-making body.

The Fed chair expressed the same sentiments in an appearance Thursday before a Senate committee.

Though encouraged by the signals from the Federal Reserve, investors remained concerned about relations between the US and China in light of a tweet from President Donald Trump expressing disappointment with Beijing’s failure to boost purchases from American farmers in line with the trade truce he agreed on with Chinese President Xi Jinping during last month’s G20 summit.

The Dow’s top-performing shares on Thursday included UnitedHealth, up 5.53 percent; Goldman Sachs, 2.61 percent; and 3M, which gained 2.02 percent.

Drug-maker Merck was the session’s biggest loser, falling 4.50 percent.

In commodities trading, the US benchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate, dropped 0.38 percent to $60.20 barrel after the publication of an analysis by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries predicting lower demand for oil in 2020.