S&P 500, Nasdaq end at records on solid US growth, earnings

VIDEO: REUTERS
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, April 24, 2019.
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, April 24, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at fresh records on Friday (April 26) following strong US economic growth data, amid relief at better-than-expected corporate earnings.

The broad-based S&P 500 ended at 2,939.88, up 0.5 per cent, eclipsing Tuesday's prior all-time high by six points The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.3 per cent to 8,146.40, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average also advanced 0.3 per cent to 26,543.33.

The records came after official data estimated US first-quarter growth at 3.2 percent, much above analyst expectations and an improvement on the 2.2 per cent growth in the final quarter of 2018.

Adding to investor cheer has been a deluge of first-quarter earnings reports that have generally topped expectations.

While there have been a handful of disappointments, "earnings have gone very well," said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Service, adding one downside of the improved US data for stocks could be a revival of talk that the Federal Reserve will shift course from its current dovish posture.

Dow member Intel plunged 9 per cent after the chip company released a disappointing second-quarter forecast, in part due to weakness in China.

But Ford surged 10.7 per cent after it reported better-than-expected profits.

Investors also overlooked the automaker's disclosure that the US Department of Justice had opened a criminal probe into the company's emissions certification process.

Amazon jumped 2.5 per cent as it reported that quarterly profits more than doubled to US$3.6 billion (S$4.9 billion), while unveiling a new one-day shipping policy for Amazon Prime subscribers.

However, other large retailers were pummeled by the Amazon announcement, which pressures the industry to match Amazon's promise of speedy deliveries.

Walmart lost 1.9 per cent, Target slumped 5.7 per cent and Kroger shed 3 per cent.