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S&P 500, Nasdaq edge higher as ECB puts off rate hike

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By Stephen Culp

(Reuters) - The and Nasdaq rose on Thursday after the said it would not raise interest rates until mid-2019, a day after the increased its key rate and hinted at two more hikes by the end of 2018.

The ECB decided to end its bond-purchase programme at the close of the year and said rates would stay unchanged until the summer of 2019.

The Fed's upbeat assessment of the was followed by Thursday's better-than-expected while jobless claims showed unemployment rolls falling to a near 44-1/2 year low point, echoing the central bank's optimism.

The gains come on the heels of Wednesday's late session volatility as the number of expected Fed rate hikes this year rose from three to four, prompting a broad sell-off.

"Everyone's been worried about rising rates, but rising rates are indicative of economic growth and that's good news," said Doug Cote, at Voya in

"I think the market is incorrect in believing that we're somehow in a secular stagnation story, when really we're in a stealth economic boom. And that will continue to drive markets higher," Cote said.

The <.DJI> fell 42.73 points, or 0.17 percent, to 25,158.47, the <.SPX> gained 5.42 points, or 0.20 percent, to 2,781.05 and the <.IXIC> added 57.69 points, or 0.75 percent, to 7,753.39.

Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, seven were in positive territory.

The rate-sensitive financial sector <.SPSY> was the biggest percentage loser of the S&P 500, led by a 1.7 percent decline in shares, as yields fell on that the ECB holding rates steady for longer than many investors expected.

Among sectors, the biggest percentage gainers were telecom <.SPLRCL> and and consumer discretionaries <.SPLRCD>.

shares helped the tech sector advance, rising 0.5 percent on that it was working on technology to automate in a challenge to .

Twenty-First Century Fox was up 1.9 percent after offered $65 billion in an effort to out-bid Walt Co's merger offer by 20 percent.

shares advanced 2.2 percent, providing the biggest boost to the Dow.

Shares of jumped 5.7 percent after the company bought a 66.7 percent stake in privately-held Silversea Cruises for about $1 billion.

was the biggest drag on the Dow, down 0.6 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.26-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.09-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The posted 33 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the recorded 144 new highs and 23 new lows.

(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. 00:42 IST