The major U.S. stock indexes closed mixed on Thursday, finishing their strongest performance to start a new year in 30 years. Gains were driven by the dovish U.S. Federal Reserve and a slew of strong earnings reports. The Fed left its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Wednesday, while signaling it would be “patient” before making its next rate hike. A surge in shares of Facebook in reaction to blow-out earnings led the indexes higher with help from shares of GE after the company posted stronger-than-forecast revenue.
In the cash market, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 2704.10, up 23.05 or +0.87%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 24999.67, down 15.19 or -0.06% and the tech-based NASDAQ Composite closed at 7281.74, up 98.66 or +1.41%.
For the month, the S&P 500 Index rallied 7.87 percent, its best January performance since 1987, and its largest monthly gain since October 2015. The Dow posted a 7.17 percent gain, its biggest one-month performance since 2015 and largest January gain in 30 years.
With the Fed decisions history and earnings season winding down, the focus shifted back to U.S.-China trade relations. Near the end of the trading session, the markets received a boost after President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office he hoped to strike a deal with China before the March 1 deadline. According to CNBC, a translator also presented Trump with an optimistic letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Shares of Facebook surged 10.8 percent after the company’s quarterly results easily topped expectations. GE shares jumped 11.65 percent on stronger-than-forecast revenue. These two stocks seemingly carried the markets higher on Thursday even with a 1.8 percent drop in Microsoft. The tech giant reported weaker-than-expected revenue and earnings guidance that was lower than expected.
Another Dow stock, DowDuPont was pressured enough to close 9.2 percent lower. This came on the back of mixed quarterly results. Shares of Tesla lost 0.5 percent with sellers driven by weaker-than-expected earnings. The company also announced the resignation of its CFO.
This article was originally posted on FX Empire
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