Wall Street extended its rally into a fifth straight day on Thursday as US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the central bank’s commitment to proceeding with caution on the monetary policy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.51% to end at 24,002 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.45% to 2,597. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.42% to 6,986.
Investors were cheered by Powell, who reiterated that the Fed would be patient about interest rate hikes. However, the market briefly turned lower after he said the bank’s balance sheet would be 'substantially smaller', and after he raised concerns about the size of US debt.
Meanwhile, new data on the Chinese economy compounded fears of tepid global growth, offsetting growing optimism over progress of the trade talks between the US and China.
In the US, reports from Macy’s and American Airlines added to concerns that growth of corporate profits would slow.
Macy’s Inc stock plummeted 17.69% and pulled down other retailers after the department store operator cut its same-store sales forecast for the full year because of weak demand during mid-December.
Trade-sensitive industrial stocks rose 1.44%, lifted by Boeing Co, which gained 2.55% after the US Air Force accepted its long-delayed KC-46 air tanker.
American Airlines Group Inc fell 4.13% after the US carrier cut its fourth-quarter profit and unit revenue forecasts. That weighed on other airline shares as well.
L Brands shed 4.4%, after the Victoria’s Secret parent reported that same-store sales were flat in December from the year-ago period.
Twitter Inc. added 2.6% after Bank of America upgraded the stock from underperform to buy, while JP Morgan analysts Dough Anmuth added the stock to his 'best-ideas' list of 2019.
Ten out of 11 S&P sector indexes rose, led by a 1.55% increase in real estate, with consumer discretionary ending down 0.23%.
In Asia, stocks mostly traded higher on Friday in morning session amid improved investor sentiment following overnight gains on Wall Street.
The mainland Chinese markets saw gains in early trade, with the Shanghai composite rising more than 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index saw fractional gains.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose more than 0.8%, while the Topix index gained around 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi also rose more than 0.1%. Australia’s ASX 200 shed its earlier gains to trade largely flat.