US stocks lifted by tech giants, Fed relief


NEW YORK (AFP) - Strong gains by Apple, Amazon and other tech giants helped propel US stocks higher on Thursday (Sept 27), markets also boosted by relief over the prior day's Federal Reserve decision.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had fallen the last three days, rose 0.2 per cent to 26,439.93.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 per cent to 2,914.00, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.4 per cent to 8,041.97.

Tesla Motors fell 5.9 per cent in after-hours trading following reports that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Tesla and Elon Musk over his statements connected to a brief effort to take the electric car maker private. Shares closed the session 0.7 per cent lower, prior to the reports.

The broader gains came a day after the Fed lifted interest rates again and signaled it expects to continue to raise rates gradually in light of solid growth.

FTN Financial's Chris Low said investors were relieved at chairman Jerome Powell's tone, which characterised the economy as solid but not at imminent risk of overheating.

"The chairman was calm and talked about how confident they are that inflation will remain contained," Low said, adding that markets were also lifted by the lack of new headlines on a plethora of trade conflicts.

Dow member Apple advanced 2.1 per cent to US$225.01 after JPMorgan Chase set a price target of US$272 based on expectations for strong growth and more share repurchases.

Amazon climbed 1.9 per cent as it opened a new retail store in New York for products that get top ratings from customers. The move is the online giant's latest push into brick-and-mortar selling.

Other large tech companies, including Facebook and Google-parent Alphabet won more than 1 per cent.

US-traded shares of Petrobras surged 4.9 per cent after US and Brazilian officials fined it more than $853 million over the cover up of a massive bribery scandal.

The company said the settlement "puts an end to the uncertainties, risks, burdens and costs of potential prosecution and protracted litigation in the United States."

Bed Bath & Beyond dived 21 per cent after second quarter profits fell by nearly 50 per cent to US$48.6 million (S$66 million). The weak results came as other retailers have benefited from the strengthening US economy.