US Markets

S&P 500 and Nasdaq close at record highs as Netflix jumps

Stocks hit all-time highs — these experts break down what investors should do next
Stocks hit all-time highs — experts break down what investors should do next

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite reached all-time highs on Friday as Netflix shares rose. The broader market also climbed after the top Federal Reserve official characterized the U.S. economy as "strong."

The rose 0.6 percent to close at 2,874.69, led by gains in materials and tech. Friday marked the S&P 500's first record close since Jan. 26. The tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced 0.9 percent and closed at 7,945.98.

Netflix rose 5.8 percent on Friday after analysts at SunTrust upgraded the stock, noting it will keep going higher because of its success overseas. The stock has had a strong week, gaining more than 10 percent this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 133.37 points to 25,790.35 as DowDuPont outperformed.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell delivered a speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming, where leading central bankers met to discuss the future of monetary policy.

Powell said he sees "further, gradual" rate hikes moving forward, noting the economy is "strong" and can handle tighter monetary policy.

"The market wasn't sure how hawkish he was going to be," said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade. "I think the biggest takeaway from the speech is he doesn't see inflation rising meaningfully above 2 percent, ... so a gradual pace of rate hikes is still appropriate."

Fed will get much more cautious on rate path once we get to neutral, says economist
Fed will get much more cautious on rate path once we get to neutral, says economist

The dollar fell to trade 0.6 percent lower against a basket of currencies following Powell's speech. The greenback's fall helped boost gold and oil prices, which are both traded in dollars.

"The dollar has gone up a bit recently; it's been a pretty crowded trade," said Aaron Hurd, senior portfolio manager of currency at State Street Global Advisors. "I think people have been looking for any reason to sell the dollar."

Sentiment was also boosted by strong earnings and solid economic data being reported earlier this week.

Retailers Lowe's and Target reported better-than-expected earnings this week, sending their shares up 9 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

Target CEO Brian Cornell raved about the state of the economy after the company's results were released, noting: "There's no doubt that, like others, we're currently benefiting from a very strong consumer environment — perhaps the strongest I've seen in my career."

President Donald Trump included Cornell's comments in a tweet, calling it "a big statement from a top executive."


Meanwhile, weekly jobless claims fell to 210,000, near levels not seen since 1969. Core durable goods orders rose 1.4 percent in July, more than the expected 0.4 percent increase.

"The numbers show the economy is strong and the consumer keeps spending," said Tim Courtney, chief investment officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors. But investors are not pricing "stories that could add risk to the market."

The strong results from retailers led the major indexes to slight weekly gains as investors also shook off renewed legal worries surrounding Trump. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose 0.9 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. The Dow rose half a percent this week.

Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight counts related to tax fraud, campaign contributions, making false statements to a financial institution and unlawful corporate contributions. Cohen also admitted to making payments to two women at the direction of Trump. Meanwhile, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts in a separate case.

Investors also grappled with trade fears as the U.S. and China concluded talks this week with no major breakthrough. Earlier this week, tariffs against U.S. and Chinese goods came into effect.

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