Sun07272014

LAST_UPDATESat, 26 Jul 2014 9pm

US Stocks Hit New Highs

NEW YORK: US stocks powered to new record highs Wednesday after Federal Reserve meeting minutes suggested the Fed's easy-money policies would remain in place for a while longer.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 128.78 (0.88 per cent) to 14,802.24, a new all-time closing high.

The broad-based S&P 500 surged 19.12 (1.22 per cent) higher to 1,587.73, also a record.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 59.39 (1.83 per cent) to 3,297.25, reaching its highest level since November 2000.

The gains came after Federal Reserve minutes suggested aggressive stimulus measures would be in place until the jobs market improves. Last week's weak jobs report suggests that could be a while.

"Reduced fears of tightening monetary policy is helping lift the market after the FOMC minutes showed a majority of the Fed is still opposed to tampering (with) its bond-buying program," said Wells Fargo in a market note.

Most of the blue-chip companies in the Dow recorded gains. The biggest winners were General Electric (+2.2 per cent), Intel (+2.4 per cent), Merck (+2.9 per cent), Pfizer (+2.8 per cent) and Microsoft (+2.3 per cent).

Top Nasdaq companies also scored. Apple was up 2 per cent and Google 1.6 per cent, while added 3.3 per cent and Micron Technology surged 5.4 per cent.

CarMax put on 3.9 per cent after reporting higher earnings and higher-than-expected revenues.

Barrick Gold sank 8.4 per cent after a Chilean court suspended the company's Pascua Lama gold mine due to environmental concerns. The project has aroused intense opposition from environmentalists and indigenous groups.

First Solar, which soared Tuesday on a bullish forecast for sales over the next three years, retreated 7.7 per cent.

 

- AFP