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US stock markets at record high led by biggest tech companies in the world

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US stock markets at record high led by biggest tech companies in the world

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US stock market: The Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, US.(Reuters)
US stock market: The Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in New York City, US.(Reuters)

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 rallied to record high closes on Wednesday, fueled by gains in Nvidia and other Wall Street heavyweights ahead of inflation data and quarterly earnings reports due this week.

It was the Nasdaq’s seventh straight record-high close and the S&P 500’s sixth straight. The S&P 500 crossed 5,600 for the first time after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell stoked expectations for an interest-rate cut in September.

Powell said in his second day of Congressional testimony that he was not ready to conclude that inflation was moving sustainably down to 2%, although he expressed “some confidence of that”.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index surged 2.4% to a record high after contract manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co posted strong quarterly revenue.

“TSMC’s report supported the AI narrative, so that more than anything else today is a pretty important data point,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta.

Micron Technology jumped 4%, Nvidia climbed 2.7% and Advanced Micro Devices added 3.9%.

Apple climbed 1.9% to a record high, lifting its stock market value to $3.6 trillion.

With just a handful of large-cap stocks fueling Wall Street’s rally this year, some investors worry about a potential selloff if those companies’ earnings fail to meet high expectations.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.02% to end the session at 5,633.91 points.

The Nasdaq gained 1.18% to 18,647.45 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.09% to 39,721.36 points.

The S&P 500 has now gained 18% in 2024, and the Nasdaq is up 24%.

All 11 S&P 500 sector indexes rose on Wednesday, led by information technology, up 1.63%, followed by a 1.34% gain in materials.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was relatively light, with 10 billion shares traded, compared to an average of 11.5 billion shares over the previous 20 sessions.

U.S. inflation data due this week include the Consumer Price Index on Thursday and the Producer Price Index report on Friday.

Expectations of a 25-basis-point rate cut by September ticked up to 74% from around 70% on Tuesday and 45% a month ago, according to CME’s FedWatch.

Second-quarter earnings season, which kicks off this week with major banks reporting on Friday, will test whether high-flying megacaps can justify expensive valuations and extend their strong runs.

Intuit dropped 2.6% after the TurboTax owner said it plans to lay off about 10% of its workforce.

Gene-sequencing equipment maker Illumina jumped over 6% after it said it was acquiring privately held Fluent BioSciences.

Advancing issues outnumbered falling ones within the S&P 500 by a 4.3-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 33 new highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 65 new highs and 117 new lows.

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