US stocks score solid gains, shrugging off recent slump

People walk by the Wall Street Bull near the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.
People walk by the Wall Street Bull near the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks finished solidly higher on Wednesday (Sept 15), shrugging off a series of lacklustre sessions that had left the market primed for bargain hunting.

"The market got a bit oversold in the near term," said Ventura Wealth Management's Tom Cahill, who pointed to underlying confidence in an economic rebound despite the ongoing wave of Covid-19 infections that has weighed on sentiment.

Mr Cahill said he was encouraged to see gains by companies like metals producer Freeport McMoran and General Motors, seeing their increases as "a vote of confidence in the global economy".

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 per cent to 34,814.39.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.9 per cent to 4,480.70, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.8 per cent to 15,161.53.

Stocks have been in retreat much of this month as analysts weigh the ongoing risk of Covid-19 and a likely tightening of Federal Reserve monetary policy as soon as this fall.

Among individual companies, Microsoft rose 1.7 per cent as it lifted its dividend and approved a new share repurchase programme of up to US$60 billion (S$80 billion).

Goldman Sachs dropped 0.5 per cent after announcing it would acquire GreenSky for US$2.2 billion. Goldman said GreenSky, a fintech company focused on home improvement loans, will bolster its push into consumer banking.

Yum China Holdings plunged 5.9 per cent as it warned of a 50 per cent to 60 per cent drop in third-quarter operating profits due to store closures related to the Delta variant.

At the peak of the outbreak, more than 500 companies' fast-food restaurants were closed or offered only takeout. Restaurant traffic has begun to recover in recent days, but "our operations continue to be heavily impacted," the company said.

Starbucks, another major food chain in China, also had a bad day, losing 3.6 per cent.