US stocks reach new highs as spotlight remains on Fed

US stocks posted new records on Friday as investors remained upbeat on the prospect of fresh economic stimulus from central banks.

The S&P 500 climbed back above the 3,000-point threshold and touched a new intraday high in a rally of 0.2 per cent. The move put the benchmark index on track for its fourth consecutive gain and its second record close in as many days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite also paced toward record highs. The Dow, up 0.5 per cent, got a boost from Dow Chemical. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.4 per cent.

The latest milestones on Wall Street’s long bull run were passed after this week’s dovish comments from Jay Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman, helped provide sustained momentum as the central bank seeks to shield the economy from growing global risks.

The dollar index was down 0.1 per cent on Friday, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 0.4 basis points to 2.1237 per cent.

Reassuring economic data helped calm nerves in Europe following another profit warning from a major German exporter.

Daimler, the carmaker, said its second-quarter performance would be well below expectations, having last cut its outlook as recently as late June. Shares in the company were down 0.7 per cent, having been down by as much as 4.5 per cent earlier.

Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax 30 missed out on a wider recovery for European bourses. Germany’s main national equities index fell 0.1 per cent, against a slight uptick for the international Stoxx 600. Even the Stoxx index tracking European carmakers fought back from losses of almost 2 per cent and a month-low in the wake of Daimler’s warning, to rise 0.8 per cent overall on the session. London’s FTSE 100 declined less than 0.1 per cent.

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The turnround came in response to economic data.

In the eurozone, it showed industrial production grew by more than expected in May, with all the major economies reporting a monthly expansion.

Beforehand, China’s exports for the first half of 2019 looked robust, easing the worst of investors’ fears about the impact of the country’s tariff battle with the US, but also stoking some concern about what the numbers might mean for White House rhetoric on trade.

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Markets Briefing is a concise look at global markets, updated throughout the trading day by Financial Times journalists in Hong Kong, New York and London. Feedback? Write in the comments below or send us an email.


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