S&P 500, Dow hit new highs on rate cut optimism

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit record highs on Friday, as the indexes continued a strong run for the week on raised expectations of an interest rate cut this month.

Numbers showing the rise of the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 27,000 are displayed on a screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

In his two-day testimony before Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy was still under threat from disappointing factory activity, tame inflation and a simmering trade war and that the central bank stood ready to “act as appropriate.”

“He (Powell) has said everything he can, short of saying flat out that we are going to cut interest rates,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“Fed fund futures were telling us for a month that was going to happen, but Powell has pretty much confirmed that’s the case.”

The S&P 500 index .SPX traded above the 3,000 level for the third straight session, also boosted by a 0.59% gain in the technology sector .SPLRCT, the S&P 500’s best performer so far this year. Apple Inc (AAPL.O) led the gainers.

The healthcare sector .SPXHC fell 1%, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors, weighed down by a 15% tumble in Illumina Inc (ILMN.O). The gene sequencing company’s preliminary second-quarter revenue came in below analysts’ estimate.

At 10:05 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 137.21 points, or 0.51%, at 27,225.29 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.24 points, or 0.17%, at 3,005.15.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 21.82 points, or 0.27%, at 8,217.86.

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