NYSE: Wall Street opens higher, nearing all-time high

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Wall Street is opening higher, holding just below the all-time high it set two years ago. The S&P 500 was up 0.3 per cent in early trading Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 107 points, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.4 per cent.

Tech stocks were leading the market for a second straight day after heavyweight chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. delivered a stronger-than-expected forecast for revenue growth this year. Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia both rose. Other companies rallied after reporting stronger profits for the end of 2023 than analysts expected. Treasury yields rose.

On Thursday, the U.S. Congress sent President Joe Biden a short-term spending bill, averting a looming partial government shutdown and funding federal agencies into March. It was the third stopgap funding measure in recent months.

The bill extends current spending levels and buys time for the House and Senate to work out their differences over full-year spending bills.

Markets were broadly steadier as treasury yields in the bond market slowed their jump from earlier in the week. Yields had been climbing as traders pushed back their forecasts for how soon the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates. Higher yields in turn undercut prices for stocks and raise the pressure on the economy.

The yield on the 10-year treasury steadied Friday at 4.14 per cent, right where it was late Thursday.

The Fed has indicated it will likely cut rates several times in 2024 because inflation has been cooling since its peak two summers ago, meaning it may not need as tight a leash on the economy and financial system.

Spirit Airlines jumped close to 36 per cent after the budget carrier pre-announced strong fourth-quarter revenue and improved margins, boosted by a strong holiday travel season.

In Europe at midday, Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.5 per cent and Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 per cent. France’s CAC 40 was virtually unchanged.

In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 1.4 per cent to 35,963.27.

Japan’s inflation slowed for a second straight month, increasing the chance that the Bank of Japan will keep its ultra-low interest rates unchanged at its meeting next week. The country’s annual headline inflation rate has remained above the BOJ’s two-per-cent target since April 2022, with a gradual decline observed from its peak of 4.3 per cent last year to the rate of 2.6 per cent in December that was reported Friday.

Hong Kong stocks were on track for their third consecutive week of losses as investors remain worried about the gloomy economic prospects. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.5 per cent to 15,368.69 and the Shanghai Composite index was down nearly 0.5 per cent at 2,832.28.

In South Korea, the Kospi added 1.3 per cent to 2,472.74. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced one per cent to 7,421.20. In Bangkok, the SET was up 0.2 per cent. Taiwan’s Taiex gained 2.6 per cent, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. adding 6.5 per cent.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude lost 30 cents to $73.65 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 29 cents to $78.81 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar inched down to 148.04 Japanese yen from 148.15 yen. The euro cost $1.0886, up slightly from $1.0874.

On Thursday, the S&P 500 rose 0.9 per cent to 4,780.94 following back-to-back drops that started the holiday-shortened week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.5 per cent to 37,468.61, and the Nasdaq composite jumped 1.3 per cent to 15,055.65. 


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