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Stocks climb to records on hopes for lower interest rates

A trader works at the New York Stock

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on July 5. Photo Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan

The major U.S. stock indexes closed at record highs on Friday, with the S&P 500 ending above 3,000 for the first time. The market was driven higher by technology, consumer discretionary and industrial company stocks, which more than offset the drop in drugmakers.

Investors continued to remain focused on the Federal Reserve. The Fed is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate later this month for the first time in more than a decade to help counter slowing economic growth caused by various trade disputes. Investors have bet heavily that the Fed is moving that direction, moving stock and bond yields higher in the past two weeks.

Bond yields have been moving higher for several days, a sign that investors have become more confident that the U.S. economy will continue to produce growth, at least for the next several months. On Wednesday, Fed chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut.

The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note was 2.12 percent compared to the multi-year low of 1.95 percent the bond hit only 10 days ago.

"In our view, the Fed will cut [rates by a quarter of percentage point] since market expectations are near 90 percent," Tom Di Galoma, with Seaport Global, wrote in a note to clients.

The Dow closed up 243.95 points, or 0.9 percent, to 27,332.03. The S&P 500 rose 0.5 percent, to 3,013.77 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.6 percent, to 8,244.14. All three indexes closed at record highs.


 

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