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S&P 500 climbs to new record high

FILE- In this Oct. 24, 2017, file photo, people pass the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock mar
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 249.17 points to 26,753.17 on Thursday. Above, the New York Stock Exchange.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed at a new all-time high Thursday as stocks’ broad rally on Wall Street rolled on.

The milestone — which eclipsed the benchmark index’s last record close, reached April 30 — underscores the market’s swift rebound this month. The major U.S. stock indexes are up more than 7% so far in June, erasing May’s steep losses.

Thursday’s rally came as investors balanced optimism over the possibility that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates in response to a slowing global economy with jitters that corporate profits may suffer if a severe economic slowdown takes hold.

Those worries prompted traders to shift money into traditionally safer assets this week, such as gold and U.S. government bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury briefly slid Thursday as low as 1.97% before rising to 2.03%; the day before, it fell to 2.02%. The yield, which is used to set interest rates on mortgages and other loans, is the lowest it has been since November 2016.

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The price of gold, meanwhile, jumped 3.6%.

“If the Fed is going to cut rates, it means that the economic environment is slowing down,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. “You have investors looking to bonds to hide out in. You’re also seeing a big move up in gold on the back of the Fed’s decision.”

The price of U.S. crude oil jumped 5.4%, lifted by investors’ jitters over escalating tensions between the United States and Iran. Just weeks ago crude prices were in a bear market — that is, down at least 20% from a recent high.

The S&P 500 climbed 27.72 points, or 0.9%, to 1,954.18, a record-high close.

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The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 249.17 points, or 0.9%, to 26,753.17. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 64.02 points, or 0.8%, to 8,051.34. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies ticked up 7.92 points, or 0.5%, to 1,563.49.

Despite uncertainty over the global economy, the lingering U.S.-China trade war and the prospect of geopolitical conflict between the U.S. and Iran, stock investors have been in a buying mood this month. That’s a marked reversal from May, when jitters over the U.S.-China spat derailed the stock market’s strong start to the year.

The market’s recovery gained momentum this week after the Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it stands ready to cut interest rates. Traders also grew more hopeful that U.S.-China trade talks will make progress this month.

The top U.S. trade negotiator is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart to discuss a trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies before a summit next week in Japan between President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. In the past, the market has rallied and then dipped again because of seemingly good news on trade talks that did not result in any concrete progress.

Technology stocks accounted for a big share of Thursday’s gains. Oracle led the sector — and all stocks in the S&P 500 — jumping 8.2% after the software company reported solid financial results.

Industrial companies also notched solid gains. United Rentals climbed 3.5%.

The jump in oil prices sent energy stocks broadly higher. Noble Energy shares rose 6.2%.

Benchmark crude oil rose 5.4% to $56.65 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 4.3% to $64.45 a barrel.

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Bond yields continued to slide the day after the Federal Reserve signaled that it is prepared to cut its benchmark interest rate if needed to shield the U.S. economy from trade conflicts or other threats. The central bank left interest rates unchanged for now, but investors are betting that it will cut interest rates at least once this year.

Shares of work-messaging platform Slack surged in their stock market debut. The company’s shares were given a reference price — a guide for initial trading — of $26, but they opened at $38.25 and closed at $38.62, up more than 48% from that reference price.

Wholesale gasoline rose 2.9% to $1.79 a gallon. Heating oil climbed 3% to $1.88 a gallon. Natural gas fell 4% to $2.19 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 3.6% to $1,396.90 an ounce. Silver also rose 3.6%, reaching $15.49 an ounce. Copper rose 1.2% to $2.71 a pound.


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