Wall Street rises on rate cut optimism; S&P 500, Dow hit new highs

REUTERS: The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit fresh record highs on Friday, as the indexes continued a strong run for the week on hopes of an interest rate cut this month, while investors waited for the start of the corporate earnings season.

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”.

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“My belief on why the Fed will likely lower rates in the July meeting is that it will try to assume its responsibilities as the central bank for the world and global economic indicators are not as healthy as in the U.S.,” said James Abate, chief investment officer at Centre Asset Management in New York.

Abate said most of the positive catalysts that have driven the market higher, have been priced in and now the focus will shift to the earnings season in the next few weeks.

The second quarter earnings season starts next week against the backdrop of warnings of the U.S.-China trade war hurting corporate profits. S&P 500 companies are expected to report a 0.4per cent dip in profits from a year earlier, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Results from transport companies next week will also help investors gauge the impact of the trade war on the transportation sector, which is considered as a barometer of U.S. economic health.

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The S&P 500 traded above the 3,000 level for the third straight session, also boosted by a 0.44per cent gain in the technology sector , the S&P 500’s best performer so far this year. Apple Inc led the gainers.

The healthcare sector fell 1.02per cent, the most among

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