Business News / Markets / Stocks

Equities Jump as S&P 500, Nasdaq Hit Record Highs After Powell’s Upbeat Economic View

Equities pushed higher on Friday with the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Composite hitting new record highs after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated the outlook for “gradual” rate hikes and offered an upbeat view of the world’s biggest economy.

The monetary policy boss said in the annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that the US economy is strong and there’s “good reason to expect” the robust performance will continue. He signaled more rate hikes are likely if the recent strong page of wage and job growth continues.

Powell’s comments helped markets build out their gains, and ended the week in the green for the five-day stretch as worries about emerging-market uncertainty eased and companies reported upbeat financial quarters.

That was even as new tit-for-tat U.S./China tariffs came into effect and legal woes for the president took attention in Washington, D.C. On the week, the Nasdaq was up 1.7% over the five days, the Dow rose 0.5% and the S&P gained 0.9%.

On Friday, the Dow was supported by gains in DowDuPont (DWDP) and Visa (V), although the index was still more than 800 points off its own all-time peak. Just seven shares among the 30 blue chips were on the downside as the broader measure posted a triple-digit gain.

The lone decliner on the S&P came in consumer staples, which ended 0.2% as tobacco stocks retreated. Philip Morris (PM) shed 3.2% and Altria (MO) lost 1.7% after Jefferies downgraded both shares to hold from buy.

Also in company news, Papa John’s (PZZA) rose 4.6% after Reuters said the pizza chain has hired Bank of America and Lazard to help find ways to stabilize itself amid a dispute with the company’s founder, John Schnatter. Netflix (NFLX) jumped 5.8% after an upgrade to buy from hold at SunTrust.

AutoDesk (ADSK) surged 15% as it released better-than-expected quarterly results. DexCom (DXCM), a maker of glucose monitoring products, sank 4.1% after saying it it acquired TypeZero Technologies for an undisclosed amount.

By the close, the Nasdaq rose 0.9%, the S&P 500 gained 0.6% and the Dow added 0.5%.