Dow, S&P 500 again end at records as Wall Street rally continues

New York (AFP) –


Wall Street saw no reason to stop rallying as the US economy pulls out of its downturn, lifting the Dow and S&P 500 to their second consecutive record on Friday.

At the close of US trading, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 0.5 percent to end at 34,201.13. The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent to hit 4,185.53.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index saw slightly less ebullient trading, gaining 0.1 percent to close at 14,052.34, about 125 points below its all-time high.

Both the S&P 500 and Dow also posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains, ending a week that saw the government release data indicating weekly jobless claims hit their lowest point of the pandemic, and retail sales boomed in March thanks in part to government stimulus.

Chris Low of FHN Financial said that data, combined with easy monetary policy from the Federal Reserve that its leadership indicated it wasn't looking to end, put traders in an optimistic mood.

"We had tremendous data all week this week," he said. "In addition to strong data, we get reassurances from Fed officials all week, including the chair, that they're very comfortable with the economic and inflation environment... so that's good news for equities, as well."

Adding to the upbeat sentiment were data released before markets opened showing homebuilding had rebounded sharply last month after winter weather snarled construction in February.

The data offered hope that the inventory squeeze that is pushing home prices up could end this year.

Homebuilder Toll Brothers closed 2.9 percent higher, while KB Home gained 3.3 percent, both all-time highs.

Morgan Stanley fell 2.8 percent after disclosing a $911 million loss from the meltdown of Archegos Capital Management despite reporting blockbuster first-quarter profits.