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Nasdaq hits new closing high, S&P 500 gains after ECB decision, U.S. data

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By Stephen Culp

(Reuters) - The edged up and the reached another record closing high on Thursday after the said it would avoid raising interest rates until mid-2019, and data showed U.S. economic strength.

The strong U.S. retail sales numbers came a day after the increased its key interest rate and hinted at the possibility of two more hikes by the end of 2018.

The ECB announced it would end its bond-purchase programme at year-end but signalled that any interest rate hike was still distant.

"People are looking at potential tightening on the part of the ECB and realizing it may not come to fruition," said Stephen Massocca, at in "I think people saw that today and thought that was positive "

The Fed's rate hike on Wednesday was accompanied by an upbeat economic assessment. This was followed by Thursday's better-than-expected and unemployment rolls falling to a near 44-1/2 year low, underscoring the central bank's optimism.

"(The Fed's) ability to raise rates more, three or four times, that's actually good news," said Doug Cote, at Voya in "The reason they're able to do it is the economy's so strong."

The "smashed expectations," Cote said. "So that's good on top of good and that's really what's driving markets today."

The <.DJI> fell 25.89 points, or 0.1 percent, to 25,175.31, the <.SPX> gained 6.86 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,782.49 and the Composite <.IXIC> added 65.34 points, or 0.85 percent, to 7,761.04.

Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, seven ended the session in positive territory and one was unchanged on the day.

The rate-sensitive financial sector <.SPSY> was the biggest percentage loser of the S&P 500, led by a 1.8 percent decline in shares, as yields fell on news that the ECB would be holding rates steady for longer than many investors expected.

was also the biggest drag on the Dow.

Utilities <.SPLRCU>, consumer discretionary <.SPLRCD> and showed the biggest sector gains.

shares advanced 0.6 percent on news that it was working on technology to automate in a challenge to .

Twenty-First Century Fox was up 2.1 percent after offered $65 billion in an effort to out-bid Walt Disney Co's merger offer by 20 percent.

Shares of jumped 5.1 percent after the company bought a 66.7 percent stake in privately-held Silversea Cruises for about $1 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.33-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.35-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The posted 35 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Composite recorded 168 new highs and 32 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.75 billion shares, compared to the 6.70 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 15 2018. 02:36 IST