US stocks gain for 4th straight session

VIDEO: REUTERS
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in US on Jan 7, 2019.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in US on Jan 7, 2019.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks rose on Wednesday (Jan 9) for a fourth straight session, although gains moderated somewhat following a breakdown in talks in Washington on ending the government shutdown.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.4 per cent at 23,879.12.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.4 per cent to 2,584.96, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.9 per cent to 6,957.08.

Wall Street has been on the upswing since Friday, when Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signalled to markets that the US central bank would take a cautious approach to further interest rate hikes.

The rally has also been fueled by optimism over US-China trade talks and the sense that stocks were undervalued following a December sell-off.

Fed minutes released on Wednesday had a dovish hue, noting that the US central bank “can afford to be patient” before raising again.

But gains moderated in the final 40 minutes of trading after President Donald Trump tweeted that a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders was a “total waste of time.”

 
 

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump had a “temper tantrum” and “just got up and walked out.” 

Karl Haeling of LBBW said the late-session dustup in Washington raised questions about the government’s ability to “function appropriately” but noted that there were also technical factors behind the pullback after three straight up sessions.

“The stock market went up on a continued technical momentum over optimism on the trade talks,” he said, adding that higher oil prices were also beneficial.

Petroleum-linked companies with big gains included Halliburton, which jumped 2.7 per cent and Apache, which surged 5.1 per cent.

Constellation Brands plunged 12.5 per cent after its 2019 forecast missed analyst expectations due to weakness in its wine and spirits business.