Stock market today: Dow finishes above 40,000 to cap Wall Street’s latest winning week

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On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a key stock market index, closed above the 40,000 mark for the first time. This milestone came as U.S. stock indexes continued to reach new highs, wrapping up another successful week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 134.21 points, or 0.3%, ending at 40,003.59. This rise followed a brief moment the previous day when the Dow first surpassed the 40,000 level. Since autumn 2022, the Dow and other stock indexes have been steadily rising, supported by a resilient U.S. economy and strong corporate profits, despite challenges like high inflation, high interest rates, and fears of a potential recession that has yet to materialize.

The S&P 500, another crucial index for Wall Street and retirement savings, gained 6.17 points, or 0.1%, closing at 5,303.27. It ended just 0.1% below its record high set on Wednesday and marked a fourth consecutive week of gains. On the other hand, the Nasdaq composite slipped by 12.35 points, or 0.1%, to 16,685.97.

Despite the overall steady movement of the indexes, there was significant activity among individual stocks. Reddit saw a 10% jump in its stock price after announcing a partnership with OpenAI. This partnership will involve integrating Reddit’s content with ChatGPT and OpenAI becoming an advertising partner. The excitement around artificial intelligence technology continues to grow, although some experts warn of a potential bubble.

However, not all stocks fared well. GameStop and AMC Entertainment, which had seen massive gains earlier in the week, experienced significant declines. GameStop fell by 19.7%, reducing its weekly gain to 27.2%. This drop followed news that the company expects a loss of up to $37 million for the three months ending May 4. Additionally, GameStop announced it might sell up to 45 million shares to raise cash, which can dilute the value of current shareholders’ stakes.

AMC Entertainment also saw its stock price fall after announcing plans to issue nearly 23.3 million shares to pay off some of its debt. Both companies’ stock movements were largely driven by investor enthusiasm rather than changes in their profit outlooks. Some of these enthusiastic investors include Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund founded by Jim Simons, which had bought shares of both GameStop and AMC before the end of March.

Treasury yields increased slightly, and stock indexes around the world showed mixed results. The positive market performance this week was bolstered by a report suggesting that inflation might finally be decreasing after a disappointing start to the year. This rekindled hopes that the Federal Reserve might cut its main interest rate at least once this year.

The federal funds rate is currently at its highest level in over 20 years. A rate cut could boost investment prices and relieve some economic pressure. The goal for the Federal Reserve is to slow down the economy enough to control high inflation without causing a severe recession.

However, some economists are cautious about the growing optimism on Wall Street. Many traders now expect the Fed to cut rates twice this year or more, but economists from Bank of America warn that this optimism might be overly ambitious. Despite recent positive data, inflation remains higher than the Fed’s target, and Bank of America’s Michael Gapen predicts the Fed will hold its main interest rate steady until a potential cut in December.

In the bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 4.41% from 4.38% the previous day. The two-year yield, which is more closely linked to Fed expectations, edged up to 4.82% from 4.80%.

Internationally, stock indexes rose by 1% in Shanghai and 0.9% in Hong Kong after China’s central bank announced measures to support its struggling property market. These measures included lowering required down payments for housing loans and reducing interest rates for first and second home purchases. Meanwhile, stock indexes fell in Seoul, Tokyo, and across much of Europe.

The recent performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other U.S. stock indexes highlights a period of resilience and growth despite economic challenges. The U.S. economy and corporate profits have remained strong, helping to drive stock prices higher. As Taiwan shifts its economic focus from China to the U.S., these developments reflect broader global economic trends and strategic decisions. As we move forward, the interactions between inflation, interest rates, and global trade will continue to shape the financial landscape.

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