Markets in US hit new highs on rate cut hopes

NEW YORK • All three of Wall Street's main indices popped to fresh records on Friday, ending the week on an emphatic note as investors grew increasingly confident that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at the end of the month.

In congressional testimony last week, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers "crosscurrents" increased risks to the US economic outlook - strongly suggesting a rate cut was on the cards at the Fed's next policy meeting in less than three weeks.

The broad-based S&P 500 closed above the 3,000-mark for the first time ever.

Mr Jack Ablin of Cresset Wealth Advisors said investors were also encouraged by the outlook for what could be better-than-expected corporate revenues.

However, with corporate earnings season set to begin in earnest, S&P 500 companies are forecast to see weaker profit growth compared with last year, according to FactSet.

It would be the second consecutive quarter of slowing profit, something that has not happened in three years.

HUNGRY FOR MORE

The market needs to feed on something. The appetite of the market for low rates is insatiable. The question now is can they shift their attention to earnings.

MR JACK ABLIN, of Cresset Wealth Advisors.

He added: "But the next question we expect is: where do we go from there? The market needs to feed on something. The appetite of the market for low rates is insatiable. The question now is can they shift their attention to earnings."

While the positive sentiment initially filtered through to Asia and Europe on Friday, the momentum petered out in late European trading.

Meanwhile, China's economy grew at its slowest rate in nearly three decades in the second quarter, hit by the country's trade war with the US and weakening global demand, according to a survey of analysts by Agence France-Presse.

The world's second-largest economy likely expanded 6.2 per cent in April-June, according to the poll of 10 economists ahead of the official gross domestic product report tomorrow.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 14, 2019, with the headline 'Markets in US hit new highs on rate cut hopes'. Print Edition | Subscribe