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S&P 500 hits record as investors continue to cheer Fed decision

English.news.cn   2014-06-20 06:13:59

NEW YORK, June 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed narrowly mixed after a seesaw session Thursday, with the S&P 500 setting record intraday and closing highs, as investors continued to embrace the Federal Reserve's latest move after its two-day meeting.

The S&P 500 grinded higher to a new all-time intraday high of 1, 959.87 points minutes after the opening bell and finished at a new record closing high of 1,959.48 points, up 2.50 points, or 0.13 percent. The benchmark index set both record intraday and closing highs Wednesday on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's dovish remarks.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added 14.84 points, or 0.09 percent, to 16,921.46. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 3.51 points, or 0.08 percent, to 4,359.33.

Both the S&P 500 and the Dow climbed for five days in a row, while the Nasdaq snapped a four-day gaining streak.

The Fed chief said Wednesday afternoon at a press conference following the U.S. central bank's policy meeting that recent pickup in consumer price index (CPI) is "noisy," while emphasizing the Fed has no set timing whatsoever for interest rate hike which depends on economic data.

The U.S. CPI rose 0.4 percent in May following a 0.3-percent increase in April, said the U.S. Labor Department on Tuesday.

Yellen's dovish tone reassured investors who had feared that the Fed may sound a hawkish tone at the conclusion of the policy meeting in a response to rising inflation pressure.

The Fed announced Wednesday that it will continue to taper its monthly bond purchases by another 10 billion U.S. dollars next month and lowered its U.S. growth forecast for this year, while reiterating that it is appropriate to keep its benchmark short-erm interest rates near zero "for a considerable time" after the bond purchase program ends.

Despite the Fed's commitment to extremely low interest rates, investors were still reluctant to make a big bet on stocks, since major indices have repeatedly refreshed all-time highs in recent weeks.

The stock market moved back and forth before ending in mixed territory amid mixed economic data coming out in the day.

The number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits in the week ending June 14 fell 6,000 to 312,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, said the U.S. Labor Department on Thursday morning. The latest figure was better than analysts' expectations.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board leading economic index for the United States increased 0.5 percent in May, still marginally falling short of market consensus.

Among the S&P 500's ten sectors, utilities, consumer staple and energy led the gains.

The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of fear in the market, was little moved Thursday, up 0.09 percent to end at 10.62.

In other markets, the dollar extended losses against other major currencies Thursday, as investors continued to mull the Fed' s dovish stance.

In late New York trading, the euro gained to 1.3608 dollars from 1.3569 dollars of the previous session. The greenback bought 101.94 Japanese yen, lower than 102.09 yen of the previous session.

Oil prices gained as the market worried that escalating conflicts in Iraq could disrupt supplies from the second largest OPEC crude producer.

Light, sweet crude for July delivery moved up 46 cents to settle at 106.43 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange pushed above 1,300 dollars. The most active gold contract for August delivery rose 41.4 dollars, or 3.25 percent, to settle at 1,314.1 dollars per ounce.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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