S&P 500, Nasdaq Nab All-Time Closing Highs as Powell Soothes Taper Fears

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Regarding the indexes’ recent string of all-time highs, including the S&P 500’s 52nd record high close so far this year, Zigmont said “The march north has been very consistent. The drawdowns are super shallow, and the recoveries are very fast.”

In his prepared remarks, Powell stopped short of providing a clearer picture regarding the timing of the central bank’s tapering of asset purchases or hiking interest rates, the key elements of its dovish monetary policy aimed at helping the economy recover from the pandemic recession.

Indeed, Powell appeared to strike a more dovish tone than other Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) officials, including St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, who said earlier in the day that they expect the tapering process to begin soon and wind down next year.

“The market is very happy that the Fed is pumping more liquidity into the economy every month,” Zigmont added. “The Fed is enabling asset prices to climb and the market is pleased with that.”

Economic data released on Friday delivered, in large part, precisely what economists expected – a pullback in consumer spending and sentiment due to the COVID-19 Delta variant, and signs that the current wave of price spikes will not morph into long term inflation, inline with Fed assurances.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 242.68 points, or 0.69%, to 35,455.8, the S&P 500 gained 39.37 points, or 0.88%, to 4,509.37 and the Nasdaq Composite added 183.69 points, or 1.23%, to 15,129.50.

Ten of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 advanced, with energy shares enjoying the largest percentage gain.

Chipmaker Nvidia’s shares rose 2.6% after sources said it would likely seek antitrust approval from the European Union to take over British chip designer Arm.

Workday Inc jumped 9.1% as brokerages upped their price targets after the company beat second-quarter revenue estimates.

Stay-at-home darling Peloton Interactive Inc slid 8.5% following its profit warning and its announcement it was being probed by U.S. regulators over an accident involving the safety of its treadmills.

Beijing continued its crackdown on its tech companies, threatening to curb their ability to list on U.S. exchanges.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group and Tencent Music Entertainment fell 3.5% and 1.4%, respectively, while the Invesco Golden Dragon ETF dropped 1.1%.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 5.21-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.40-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 60 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 132 new highs and 37 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 8.67 billion shares, compared with the 8.95 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy)