Portfolio

US open: Stocks go green as focus switches back to the Fed

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Friday 19 Jul 2019

US open: Stocks go green as focus switches back to the Fed

(Sharecast News) - US stocks opened higher on Friday after two top Federal Reserve officials hinted that more aggressive policy easing from the central bank was on the horizon.
At 1530 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.37% at 27,322.63, while the S&P 500 was trading 0.26% higher at 3,002.86 and the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.36% firmer at 8,236.54.

SpreadEx's Connor Campbell said: "The Dow Jones opened higher on Friday, pleased by the latest dovish comments from the Federal Reserve.

"With the question now turning to how deep the rate cut will be, rather than the likelihood of the cut itself, the Dow added just shy of 100 points after the bell, pushing it back above 27,300 in the process."

The Dow Jones was up 99 points in early trade after stocks recouped some losses in the previous session after getting a boost when New York Fed President John Williams said the central bank needed to "act quickly" with the economy slowing. He added that it was "better to take preventative measures than wait for disaster to unfold".

However, later in the session, a spokesperson for the New York Fed took steps to curb investors' expectations, telling CNBC that he was drawing from academic research rather than outlining potential policy actions at the Federal Open Market Committee's next meeting.

Donald Trump, a long-time critic of the Fed, offered up his two cents on Williams' speech on Friday, telling the central bank to end its "crazy" tightening moves.

The President called on the Fed to "stop with the crazy quantitative tightening" and not to "blow it" by halting "unparalleled" growth.

Eyes were also set to be firmly fixed on escalating tensions in the Middle East after Donald Trump revealed that a US Navy vessel had destroyed an Iranian drone as part of a "defensive action" in the Strait of Hormuz.

In terms of earnings, BlackRock shares inched forward 0.15% at the bell despite reporting second-quarter revenues that missed estimates, while American Express shares dropped 2.26% despite reporting better-than-expected earnings.

Microsoft shares picked up 2.06% to a new intraday high after topping expectations with its quarterly earnings, while Anheuser-Busch shares climbed 5.68% after announcing it would be offloading its Australian operations to Japanese firm Asahi.

On the data front, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index rose a touch in July, clinging to a 15-year peak despite growing economic headwinds.

The consumer sentiment survey edged up to 98.4 this month from 98.2 in June.

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