From Market Insider
- US equities jumped on Friday as positive economic data extended the market’s record-setting climb. The S&P 500 close at all-time highs on Thursday.
- Consumer spending in the US grew 1.9% in July, beating economists’ 1.5% estimate and signaling a continued, albeit slowing, economic recovery.
- The Dow Jones industrial average erased its 2020 losses at the open. The index briefly traded above its December 31, 2019 close in Thursday’s session before paring gains.
- Oil traded higher as Hurricane Laura weakened over the Gulf region. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed as much as 0.9%, to $43.42 per barrel.
US stocks continued their climb to new heights on Friday as economic data surprised to the upside. The S&P 500 rose after closing at an all-time high on Thursday.
Consumer spending in the US grew 1.9% in July, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. Economists surveyed by Reuters anticipated growth of 1.5%. The gain follows a 6.2% jump in June and rebukes some fears that the nation’s economic recovery stumbled last month.
The department also said US personal income climbed by 0.4% in July. Economists expected a 0.2% drop.
Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET market open on Friday:
- S&P 500: 3,492.51, up 0.2%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 28,539.27, up 0.2% (47 points)
- Nasdaq composite: 11,691.45, up 0.6%
The Dow erased its 2020 losses at the open, becoming the last of the three major US indexes to turn positive year-to-date. The 30-stock index traded above its December 31, 2019 close on Thursday but ended the session below the threshold. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite erased their year-to-date losses months ago on surging tech stocks. The Dow’s smaller exposure to the sector delayed such a bounce.
Investors continued to cheer the Federal Reserve’s shift to a new monetary policy framework. The central bank will now aim for 2% inflation averaged out over time, signaling periods of stronger inflation to balance out today’s lower rate. The shift “was music to the ears of Wall Street bulls,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA Europe, said in a note.
“In theory, by aiming for 2% average inflation, the central bank should hold off a little longer before raising interest rates. Whether they do so to any significant degree is another thing,” Erlam said.
Workday shares surged after the company beat estimates for second-quarter revenue and earnings. The cloud software firm attributed its success through the pandemic to clients’ spending on solutions for the work-from-home shift.
Gold climbed as much as 1.8%, to $1,964.84 per ounce, on new interest following the Fed’s announcement. A longer period of low interest rates drags on Treasury yields, in turn boosting the precious metal’s relative value.
Oil traded higher as Hurricane Laura calmed. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 0.9%, to $43.42 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, rose 0.5% to $45.30 at intraday highs.