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US stocks end at records, shrugging off Trump impeachment

US stocks end at records, shrugging off Trump impeachment

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks pushed to fresh records on Thursday (Dec 19), shrugging off a historic US impeachment vote and focusing on heightened hopes for easing trade tensions with China.

All three major indices advanced to new records, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing with a gain of 137.68 points (0.49 per cent) at 28,376.96.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 14.23 points (0.45 per cent) to 3,205.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 59.49 points (0.67 per cent) to 8,887.22, its sixth straight record.

Stocks have repeatedly hit records in recent sessions amid a mellowing of US-China trade tensions, and agreement on a revised trade pact with Mexico and Canada, in a rally that also has been supported by accommodative monetary policy.

Analysts said Thursday's records also reflect broad expectations that the US Senate will vote against removing US President Donald Trump from office after Trump became just the third US president in history impeached.

"The market is going to ignore impeachment in large part, it will pay attention to earnings, interest rates and the Fed," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. "That's been true for the last two impeachments."

Economic data were mixed, with existing home sales dropping to a five-month low in November while jobless claims dipped.

Among individual companies, Micron Technology gained 2.8 per cent after the chip company's earnings topped analyst expectations and it described the just-ended quarter as a "bottom" for its financial performance.

Conagra Brands was another winner, surging 15.8 per cent on better-than-expected results. Chief Executive Sean Connolly gave an upbeat outlook for the next six months following a period of heavy investment.

Meanwhile Dow-member Boeing was flat after S&P and Moody's both downgraded the aerospace giant's debt rating after it halted production on the 737MAX, which remains grounds following two deadly accidents.

Source: AFP/de


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