Stocks lose some altitude — but remain solidly higher — after Fed minutes

U.S. stocks closed solidly higher on Thursday, with major indexes advancing in a broad rally that was led by the technology sector, which enjoyed its best session in more than a month.

Hopes that geopolitical tensions surrounding trade policy were easing also supported the market. The centrality of this issue to the economy was underlined after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent gathering acknowledged intensifying risks from trade policies emanating from the Trump administration.

Where did markets close?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.75% gained 181.92 points, or 0.8%, to 24,356.74. The S&P 500 SPX, +0.86% added 23.39 points to 2,736.61, a gain of 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.12% rose 83.75 points, or 1.2%, to 7,586.43.

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The day’s gains were widespread, with 28 of the 30 Dow components ending in positive territory, along with 10 of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors. Technology stocks climbed 1.5% in their biggest one-day percentage gain since June 1, while the health-care, consumer-staples, real estate, and materials sectors all rose 1% or more. Energy was the only declining group, dropping less than 0.2%.

Trading was lighter than normal, with many market participants still out for the Fourth of July break, for which U.S. markets were closed on Wednesday.

What is driving the market?

Fed policy makers saw negative risks from U.S. trade policy, saying it “had intensified,” indicating that a tit-for-tat tariff clash could have negative effects on business sentiment and investment spending, according to the minutes of the June 12-13 Federal Open Market Committee released Thursday.

Despite the headwinds from trade clashes, the Fed said there was broad support for continued “gradual” rate increases. Officials noted that the benchmark federal-funds rate could be at or above its “neutral” level

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