U.S. stocks ended mixed, Dow closing at record high above 40,000


By UnreguserXing Yue
  • World
  • Saturday, 18 May 2024

NEW YORK, May 17 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended mixed on Friday, buoyed by stronger-than-expected economic growth and contracting inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 134.21 points, or 0.34 percent, to 40,003.59 for the first time in history. The S&P 500 added 6.17 points, or 0.12 percent, to 5,303.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 12.35 points, or 0.07 percent, to 16,685.97.

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with energy and materials leading the gainers by going up 1.37 percent and 0.85 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, technology and consumer staples led the laggards by dropping 0.48 percent and 0.26 percent, respectively.

The leading indicators for the U.S. economy declined in April for the second consecutive month, signaling "serious headwinds to growth." The index of leading economic indicators, which is meant to predict the economic outlook, dropped 0.6 percent last month, according to the Conference Board on Friday. While the index "no longer signals a forthcoming recession, they still point to serious headwinds to growth ahead," said Justyna Zabinska-La Monica, senior manager of business-cycle indicators at the Conference Board.

Federal Reserve voting member Michelle Bowman stated that she remains "willing to raise the target range for the federal funds rate at a future meeting" if upcoming data indicates that progress on inflation has stalled or reversed.

However, softer economic data in recent weeks bolsters the argument that investors may finally receive some much-anticipated rate cuts in 2024, UBS argued in a Friday note. "We continue to believe recent economic data underpin our view that a return of disinflation should allow the Fed to start easing policy later this year," the bank wrote.

On the corporate front, shares of Walmart and Caterpillar, both up 1 percent, led the Dow. In the S&P 500, Chubb and Valero Energy were the biggest gainers, rising more than 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

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