U.S. stocks rose to record highs as investors digested a stronger-than-expected quarterly report on U.S. economy growth ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s monetary policy decision next week.
Positive earnings results from several major companies helped support the three major equity indices. Leading the way was Google-parent Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), up 10% in the last 30 minutes of trading.
Here were the major moves in markets ahead of the opening bell, as of 3:37 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +0.74%, or 22.19 points
Dow (^DJI): +0.19%, or 51.47 points
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +1.11%, or 91.67 points
10-year Treasury yield (^TNX): Unchanged at 2.074%
U.S. dollar index (DX-Y.NYB): +0.2% to 98.02
The S&P 500 closed at a record high of 3,025.86 points, while the Nasdaq also ended at a record level of 8,330.21 points. Each of the three major indices ended the week higher.
Market participants got a first look at U.S. economic activity in the second quarter in the Bureau of Economic Statistics’ gross domestic product (GDP) report. While the report registered a growth slowdown, the magnitude of the deceleration was less than most economists expected.
First-quarter GDP grew 2.1% in the three months to June, beating expectations for growth of just 1.8% expansion.
Personal consumption was a leading contributor to economic expansion during the quarter, with consumption jumping by 4.3%, or the most since 2017. Second-quarter consumption data rebounded from an upwardly revised 1.1% increase at the start of the year. Consumer spending comprises about 70% of U.S. economic activity.
Strong results from the consumer helped to offset a pullback in business investment, net exports and inventories during the quarter amid ongoing trade tensions. Data for these had been impacted by ongoing trade tensions and slowing growth overseas.
“Consumer spending roared back in the second quarter, propping up GDP as business investment dropped significantly. The net result was GDP of a respectable 2.1%, which beat analyst expectations, and which is a good number for a mature economy in the later innings of an expansion,” Robert Frick, corporate economist at the Navy Federal Credit Union, wrote in an email. “Government spending also provided an unusual boost to GDP in the last quarter. Trade issues likely depressed business investment, so once the US-China trade war is settled, we should expect that portion of GDP to rise as well.”
Meanwhile, a crowded week of corporate earnings results comes to a close on Friday.
Many of the leading tech companies topped Wall Street’s expectations over the past several days, underscoring ongoing strength in some of the biggest ad-driven internet businesses even as the threat of increased scrutiny from Washington over antitrust and privacy concerns looms large.
After market close Thursday, Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) posted stronger-than-expected quarterly revenue results amid a resurgence in Google advertising sales after a soft first quarter. Twitter (TWTR), meanwhile, reported Friday morning that it grew its daily active user base by 5 million from the quarter prior, increasing the number of monetizable members on its platform. Snap (SNAP) and Facebook (FB), which reported results earlier this week, had also delivered a better-than-expected jump in users during the second quarter.
Amazon’s (AMZN) results, however, were a relative disappointment. While second-quarter revenue beat consensus estimates, quarterly profit and guidance missed, as Amazon’s one-day delivery initiative proved more expensive than previously anticipated. Amazon’s highly profitable Amazon Cloud Services (AWS), which delivers cloud computing and storage for businesses and agencies, grew by 37% in the quarter, but this was a slight miss compared to expectations.
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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