U.S. STOCKS RESUME UPWARD CLIMB, CLOSE HIGHER AFTER FED PAUSE

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks resumed their upward climb to close higher on Thursday (Dec 15), with banking shares rising steeply in the wake of the Federal Reserve decision to raise interest rates.

The Fed’s announcement on Wednesday provoked the biggest drop in the market since the Nov 8 US elections. But investors were back in rally mode after absorbing the rate hike, and the rise in the dollar that could pose challenges to multinationals.

 “We are back in a place where we are all expecting an environment that is pro-growth, pro-business, less regulation,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 59.71 points (0.30 per cent) to end at 19,852.24.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 8.75 points (0.39 per cent) to 2,262.03, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 20.18 points (0.37 per cent) to 5,456.85.

Financial shares led other sectors, with JPMorgan Chase winning 1.5 per cent, Bank of America 2.2 per cent and Citigroup 1.3 per cent.

Yahoo slumped 6.1 per cent on worries its latest massive data breach could derail an acquisition by Verizon of its operating assets for US$4.8 billion. Verizon rose 0.4 per cent.

Yahoo disclosed on Wednesday that personal info from over a billion users was stolen in a hack dating back to 2013.

Facebook gained 0.3 per cent after unveiling a tool to root out fake news, misinformation that some claim influenced the 2016 election. Facebook said it would begin testing a system enabling users to click on news items if they suspect they are fabricated.

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox dipped 0.7 per cent after reaching a deal to take control of pan-European pay-TV giant Sky for US$14.8 billion in cash.

Food giant Mondelez International jumped 4.4 per cent following a report it could be acquired by Kraft Heinz. A note from Morgan Stanley said such a transaction was “logical.” Kraft Heinz advanced 1.2 per cent.