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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Dow ends above 40,000 milestone, indexes notch up weekly gains

The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 40,000 mark for the first time on Friday, with other major indexes also scoring weekly gains, as data supported expectations for interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve this year.

The benchmark S&P 500 edged higher after paring losses while the Nasdaq fell, but both chalked up a fourth straight week of gains. The Dow rose to end the fifth week of advances in a row.

Strong corporate results and inflation and other economic data have bolstered investor hopes for Fed rate cuts this year.

Eight out of the 11 S&P 500 sectors advanced, with energy leading gains while technology was the biggest loser. For the week, Dow gained 1.24%, S&P 500 rose 1.54%, and Nasdaq climbed 2.11%.

“Today is a bit of a digestion day: we just broke out through record highs and now we’re on a fourth straight week of gains, and the market appears to take a breaker,” said Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer at Truist Advisory Services in Atlanta.

Traders see a 68% chance of the Fed’s first rate cut in September, the CME FedWatch Tool showed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 134.21 points, or 0.34%, to 40,003.59, the S&P 500 gained 6.17 points, or 0.12%, to 5,303.27 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 12.35 points, or 0.07%, to 16,685.97.

“For all the times that I’ve seen the market hit milestones and new highs, there’s almost always consolidation around it even though it seems it’s all psychological,” said Tom Plumb, chief executive and portfolio manager at Plumb Funds in Madison, Wisconsin.

“People have got mixed signals on inflation this week and the next big catalyst is next week when Nvidia reports. So it’s one of those days when you seem to be biding your time.”

Advanced Micro Devices gained 1.1% after Microsoft said it plans to offer its cloud computing customers a platform of AMD artificial intelligence chips that will compete with components made by Nvidia.

Reddit rose 10% following a partnership with OpenAI to bring its content to ChatGPT.

GameStop dropped nearly 20% after filing for a mixed-shelf offering and saying it expects first-quarter net sales to drop from a year ago.

About 15.6 billion shares changed hands across U.S. exchanges, compared with an average of about 11.7 billion shares over the last 20 sessions.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.18-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. On the Nasdaq, 2,039 stocks rose and 2,221 fell as declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.09-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 45 new 52-week highs and one new low while the Nasdaq recorded 157 new highs and 68 new lows.

Technology, utilities and real estate have been the top sectors in the market’s most recent rebound, rising 11.3%, 10.1% and 7.9% respectively.

Investors who study chart patterns to spot market trends also see evidence that strong momentum could keep stocks buoyant.

All 11 S&P 500 sectors are currently above their 200-day moving averages, said Willie Delwiche, an independent investment strategist and business professor at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

When at least nine of the sectors are above those trendlines, the average annual return for the S&P 500 from that point has been 13.5%, Delwiche found.

Of course, a range of factors could throw stocks off their trajectory. While recent data have shown calming consumer prices and a moderate slowdown in labor markets, signs that the cooling trend is not gaining traction could renew worries about an overly strong economy that forces the Federal Reserve to keep rates elevated or even raise them again.

Despite encouraging data, Fed officials have not openly shifted views yet about the timing of rate cuts that many investors are convinced will start this year.

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