Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Futures tied to major U.S. equity benchmarks were flat in overnight trading on Thursday as Wall Street attempts to build on its record-breaking rally.
The S&P 500 reached a new all-time high for a fifth day in a row on Thursday, and briefly topped 3,500 for the first time ever. The Dow gained 160 points for its fifth positive day in six. The Nasdaq underperformed with a 0.3% loss, led by declines in Apple and Amazon.
The 30-stock average briefly wiped out its 2020 losses during Thursday’s session and is now just down 0.1% for the year.
Stocks got a boost Thursday amid volatile trading after the Federal Reserve unveiled a major policy shift, allowing inflation and employment to run higher to continue to support the economy.
The move indicates that interest rates are likely to stay near zero for a long period of time. The central bank previously hiked rates pre-emptively to head off higher levels of inflation.
“The announcement of a move towards an asymmetric unemployment approach is very important and a welcome development,” Greg Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said in a note. “The Fed will be in no hurry to raise rates. If and when the unemployment rate falls, the Fed will strive to ensure that the benefits from looser policy are as inclusive as possible.”
So far this week, the S&P 500 is up 2.5%, on pace for its best week since July 2 and its fifth straight week of gains for the first time this year. The Dow and the Nasdaq also have gained more than 2% each week to date.
Investors will monitor fresh economic data on Friday, including consumer spending, personal consumption expenditures as well as consumer sentiment.
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