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Sep 2 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose to record highs on Thursday on gains by technology and energy heavyweights, as well as hopes the Federal Reserve will maintain dovish policy amid signs of slowing economic recovery.
The energy sector (.SPNY) rose 3.1%, oil majors Exxon Mobil (XOM.N), Chevron Corp (CVX.N), Schlumberger NV (SLB.N) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY. N) gaining between 2.6% and 7.0% as crude prices surged on a sharp drop in US inventories and a weaker dollar.
Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) rose 2.2% to a record high, while Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) added between 0.5% and 0, 7%, leading to gains on heavy technologies. Nasdaq.
US stocks have steadily hit record highs in recent weeks as a strong corporate earnings season and hopes of continued central bank support have buoyed confidence, with data showing that post-pandemic economic growth of the country was starting to slow down.
Thursday’s data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, although the focus was on the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report on Friday to prepare for the ground for the Fed’s policy meeting later this month.
The report is expected to show job growth slowed to 750,000 in August from 943,000 the previous month.
“The market may also see the Fed cut as a sign that the economy is doing better, which will help support stocks over the long term,” said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at US Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis. .
“We are overweight sectors like technology and consumer discretionary rather than sectors that are more prone to cyclical changes.”
As of 12:16 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) was up 145.05 points, or 0.41%, at 35,457.58, the S&P 500 (.SPX) was up 15.21 points, or 0.34%, to 4,539.30, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) gained 45.89 points, or 0.30%, to 15,355.27.
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Banking stocks (.SPXBK) gained 1.0%, with Wells Fargo (WFC.N) up 2.9% after three consecutive losing sessions.
Contract services firm Quanta Services Inc (PWR.N) jumped 10.1% to a record high after announcing it would buy privately held Blattner Holding Company in a deal valued at around $2. $7 billion. Read more
Medical technology company Baxter International (BAX.N) added 4.8% after announcing the acquisition of rival Hill-Rom Holdings Inc (HRC.N) for around $10.5 billion. Hill-Rom jumped 4.4%. Read more
Advancing issues outnumbered declining issues with a 2.22-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.15-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 74 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 129 new highs and nine new lows.
Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Aditya Soni
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