US Blue-Chip, Tech Stocks Hit Record Highs as Fed Evades Stimulus Taper Timetable
© AP Photo / Mark Lennihann this Nov. 5, 2020 file photo, a sign for Wall Street is carved in the side of a building. Stocks are easing lower in early trading on Wall Street, pulling major indexes slightly below the record highs they reached last week.
© AP Photo / Mark Lennihan
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Blue-chip and tech stocks on Wall Street hit record highs on Friday, notching their best in five weeks, as investors celebrated the lack of a clear deadline set by the Federal Reserve for tapering the stimulus it has been providing the US economy.
The S&P 500, which groups the top 500 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, hit a record high of 4,513 before closing at 4,509, up 40 points, or 0.9 percent on the day. For the week, the blue-chip index rose 1.5 percent.
Nasdaq, which includes technology giants such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google, raced to an all-time high of 15,145 before settling at 15,130 for a gain of 184 points or 1.2 percent. For the week, the tech bellwether gained 2.8 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the broadest US equity barometer on the NYSE that lists mostly industrial stocks, finished up 243 points or 0.7 percent at 35,456. For the week, the Dow climbed 1.0 percent.
Friday’s rally on Wall Street came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell resisted setting a timetable for the taper of the central bank’s asset purchases that had indirectly boosted stock prices over the past 18 months.
Powell, who spoke at the Fed’s closely-watched Jackson Hole Symposium on monetary policy, had been anticipated to lay out a schedule for the taper but left markets guessing instead. Pro-risk investors seized on the occasion to send stocks higher.
The Fed has been buying at least $80 billion in Treasury securities and $40 billion in agency mortgage‑backed securities each month since March 2020 to insulate the US economy from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It has also kept US interest rates at a record low of between zero and 0.25 percent.
Risk assets from stocks to commodities, including oil, have rallied in that time, responding to the higher inflationary pressure caused by the Fed's actions and trillions of more dollars in COVID-relief spending by the Biden administration.