Wall St sets records on Fed optimism

All three major indices posted record closing highs on Friday as firm expectations for an interest-rate cut from the US Federal Reserve continued to propel shares while investors awaited next week’s start of the corporate earnings season.

The S&P 500 closed above the 3,000 level for the first time, with the industrial, consumer discretionary and materials sectors each posting gains of at least 1 percent.

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

“Clearly his messaging was far more directive in terms of what the Fed is going to do at the next meeting than just a vague promise to keep the economic expansion intact,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial Inc in Newark, New Jersey. “That has brought the market to new highs.”

With expectations for rate cuts in place, the focus is turning to the corporate earnings season as large US banks, including Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co, are set to report next week.

Analysts estimate that S&P 500 companies will report a 0.4 percent dip in second-quarter earnings, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 243.95 points, or 0.9 percent, to 27,332.03, the S&P 500 gained 13.86 points, or 0.46 percent, to 3,013.77 and the NASDAQ Composite added 48.10 points, or 0.59 percent, to 8,244.14.

For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.8 percent, the Dow added 1.5 percent and the NASDAQ gained 1percent.

Data for US producer prices last month showed the smallest annual increase in producer inflation in nearly two-and-a-half years and a slowdown in underlying producer prices, which suggested that overall

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