Dovish turn by the Federal Reserve cooled the dollar
New York - AFP
A dovish turn by the Federal Reserve cooled the dollar and helped propel US stocks this week, with the Nasdaq scoring especially impressive gains.
The tech-rich index surged 154.66 points (3.17 percent) on the week, to 5,026.42, finishing only about 22 points below its record struck in the year 2000.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 378.34 (2.13 percent) to 18,127.65, while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 54.66 (2.66 percent) to 2,108.06.
The week was dominated by Wednesday's Fed policy statement, which had been anticipated for clues on when the US central bank intended to hike interest rates.
The Fed dropped a pledge to remain "patient" on raising interest rates, signalling a midyear federal funds rate hike remained possible after keeping the key rate at the zero level for more than six years.
But other language in the Fed's statement emphasized that the central bank was in no rush to hike the ultra-low rates, which have supported the stock market. The Fed also broadly lowered its outlook on the US economy this year.
"There were people on the sidelines waiting" for the Fed meeting, said Tom Cahill, a portfolio strategist at Ventura Wealth Management.
"They were forced back into the market."
US stocks surged Wednesday and - after a partial pullback Thursday - again on Friday. Part of the good cheer was from a retreat in the dollar, which had surged near parity with the euro earlier in the week.
"The market is cheering the news that the Fed rate increase will happen later in the year than previously thought," said David Levy, a portfolio manager at Kenjol Capital Management.
However, Levy said volatility could pick up again in the coming weeks due to lingering concerns about the strong dollar and weak oil prices, among other issues.
The outperformance in the Nasdaq was spurred in part by positive news-flow from Apple, the world's biggest publicly traded company by market value.
Apple got a lift from reports that it is in talks with CBS, ABC and other networks to offer a slate of television broadcasts across its devices.
The other big winner this week was Biogen, which sparked a rally in the biotech sector when it reported promising clinical results for its aducanumab drug to treat Alzheimer's disease.
In other corporate news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International sealed its deal to takeover of Salix Pharmaceuticals after raising its bid by 10 percent $173 per share or $15.8 billion in cash. Following the sweetened Valeant bid, Endo International withdrew a competing offer.
On Friday, US mall giant Simon Property Group raised its bid for Macerich Co. by five percent to $16.8 billion. Macerich had rejected the earlier bid.
US coffee giant Starbucks hit a 52-week high after announcing a stock split, even as the company ran into criticism from some on social media over its "Race Together" initiative, which encourages baristas to engage customers in a discussion of race.
Next week's calendar includes existing home sales, new home sales and durable goods orders for February.