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Dow and S&P 500 eke out fresh records as stocks rally loses steam

Two of Wall Street’s three major indices edged higher on Friday to reach new records, as investors looked to take the profits they have accumulated this week on the back of a market rally fueled by US technology titan Nvidia’s blockbuster results.

The Dow and the S&P 500 hit new all-time highs, while the Nasdaq Composite slipped, following a 3.0 percent surge a day earlier. 

In Europe, London, Frankfurt and Paris all ended the day higher, with the DAX and CAC indices closing at new records.

Most Asian shares climbed, following a day of record highs in Japanese, US and eurozone markets on Thursday. Tokyo was closed for a public holiday, one day after the Nikkei 225’s record finish.

While stock markets were relatively buoyant, oil prices sank on demand fears after Federal Reserve policymakers appeared to commit the US central bank to a longer period of high interest rates than some analysts had expected. 

And the price of natural gas in Europe fell to a nearly three-year low, dampening inflation fears, as mild winter weather continues and stockpiles hold up.

– AI bandwagon –

“The focus of financial markets in the last 48 hours has been Nvidia’s earnings report and its upbeat commentary about the future take-up of AI,” said XTB analyst Kathleen Brooks.

“Nvidia’s market capitalization gained $277 billion on Thursday alone, the biggest one-day increase in market cap ever.”

Markets celebrated Thursday as Nvidia helped push Tokyo’s benchmark index past a record high set in 1989, and the euphoria spilled over onto Wall Street, with the blue-chip Dow lodging its first close above 39,000 points.

“The emergence of AI as a huge new source of investment and growth has come at a particularly advantageous time,” said Scope Markets analyst Joshua Mahony.

Its emergence has enabled “a continued push into record highs despite an unwelcome environment of tight monetary policy in the face of global inflationary pressures,” he added. 

On Friday, Nvidia shares rose more than three percent at the opening bell before slipping to finish up only 0.4 percent. 

That added to the 16.4 percent from the previous day’s trading that lifted its market value to almost $2 trillion, as investors cheered quarterly profits hitting $12.3 billion on record-high revenue.

Other tech giants, including Facebook owner Meta and Microsoft — among Nvidia’s largest customers — also saw gains on Thursday and then stumbled on Friday to close lower.

Investors were digesting the outlook for US interest rates.

On Thursday, three Fed officials signaled that rate cuts would more than likely come later this year, with one suggesting he wanted to see “at least another couple more months of inflation data” before deciding when to initiate cuts.

– Key figures around 2145 GMT –

New York – Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 39,131.53 points (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP less than 0.1 percent at 5,088.80 (close)

New York – Nasdaq Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 15,996.82 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.3 percent at 7,706.28 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX: UP 0.3 percent at 17,419.33 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 7,966.68 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 4,872.57 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: Closed for holiday

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.1 percent at 16,725.86 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 3,004.88 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0824 from $1.0823 on Thursday

Dollar/yen: FLAT at 150.53 yen from 150.53 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2672 from $1.2660

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.39 pence from 85.48 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 2.7 percent at $76.49 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 2.5 percent at $81.62 per barrel

burs-rl/da/sst

Originally published as Dow and S&P 500 eke out fresh records as stocks rally loses steam

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