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Wall Street edges higher; all eyes on Fed

2019-06-18 HKT 04:31
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  • US markets ended higher, with investors expecting the Federal Reserve to cut rates sooner rather than later. File photo: AP
    US markets ended higher, with investors expecting the Federal Reserve to cut rates sooner rather than later. File photo: AP
US stocks advanced on Monday ahead of a highly-anticipated Federal Reserve meeting, with a big gain in Facebook boosting the Nasdaq.

Facebook jumped 4.2 percent on optimism over its strategy to launch a cryptocurrency payment program on its platform. The plan is expected to be unveiled on Tuesday.

Other large tech companies also advanced, including Apple, Amazon and Netflix, lifting the Nasdaq Composite Index by 0.6 percent to 7,845.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1 percent to 26,112, while the S&P 500 also added 0.1 percent at 2,889.

Investors are increasingly confident that the Fed will cut interest rates in the near future in light of a weakening economic outlook due in part to the hit from the US-China trade war.

Although a rate cut is not expected this week, the US central bank could bolster expectations for lower rates later in the year when it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday.

In a fresh sign suggesting economic weakness, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that manufacturing activity in New York State took a record dive this month and fell into contraction.

However, some analysts cautioned that the New York figures could be an exception.

"It's a regional index. Let's see if it's backed up by other regional manufacturing data," said FTN Financial's Chris Low.

Among other individual stocks, Boeing led the Dow, winning 2.2 percent following a report that US regulators could undertake flight trials of the grounded 737 MAX as soon as this week.

Executives at the Paris Air Show reiterated apologies following two fatal crashes and said they were open to potentially rebranding the aircraft.

Array BioPharma surged 57 percent as it agreed to be bought by Pfizer for US$11.4 billion. Pfizer climbed 0.3 percent.

Sotheby's soared 58.6 percent after announcing that the auction house would be acquired by French telecoms and media mogul Patrick Drahi for US$3.7 billion.

Among large tech companies, Amazon, Apple and Google parent Alphabet all gained more than 0.5 percent, while Tesla jumped 4.7 percent and Netflix climbed 3.2 percent. (AFP)