Wall Street stocks end heady week at records

·3-min read
The Dow and S&P 500 ended at the week at records, extending the 2021 equity rally

Wall Street stock indices were at records Friday to conclude a strong week amid optimistic growth expectations as more people are vaccinated, while equity markets elsewhere were mixed.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 finished the week at all-time highs, the latest in a run of new records.

US stocks have been on a roll most of 2021, cheered by US President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package enacted last month and an accelerating vaccination campaign in the world's largest economy.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve has remained committed to highly accommodative monetary policies, a stance reiterated in recent days by Chair Jerome Powell.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities, noted that the market took in stride data showing a jump in wholesale inflation.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the producer price index was up 0.6 percent in March, and for the latest 12 months increased 3.1 percent, accelerating from recent levels, the report showed.

"Investors have gotten the message from the Fed that their new approach is to let inflation run hot until we're at full employment," Hogan said.

Earlier bourses in Paris and Frankfurt rose modestly, while London pulled back.

"Investors are unsure if the unwind from growth is over," remarked OANDA senior analyst Edward Moya.

While some countries are having trouble with coronavirus vaccine programs, there is a feeling that governments will get a grip on the crisis and their economies will start to expand, though possibly later than previously hoped.

In Germany, industrial production dropped for the second month in a row in February after eight months of gains, as the economic impact of the pandemic began to bite, official data showed Friday.

Analysts said the data raised fresh doubts about the health of Europe's top economy after it bounced back from a coronavirus-triggered downturn early last year.

The main stock indices in Hong Kong and Shanghai gave up around one percent as traders kept tabs on China-US relations after Washington restricted trade with top Chinese supercomputing centers on security grounds.

Among individual companies, Boeing fell 1.0 percent after telling 16 airlines flying the 737 MAX jet of a "potential electrical issue." The move prompted major US carriers to temporarily ground some of their MAX planes.

Amazon gained 2.2 percent after workers at an Alabama warehouse rejected a unionization drive following a contentious campaign.

- Key figures around 2105 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.9 percent at 33,800.60 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.8 percent at 4,128.80 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.5 percent at 13,900.19 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 6,915.75 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 6,169.41 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 15,234.16 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,978.84 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 29,768.06 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.1 percent at 28,698.80 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.9 percent at 3,450.68 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1909 from $1.1914 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3706 from $1.3735

Euro/pound: UP at 86.82 pence from 86.74 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.66 yen from 109.26 yen

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.4 percent at $62.95 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.5 percent at $59.32 per barrel