U.S. stocks post solid weekly gains amid trade optimism, data

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-13 07:38:13|Editor: WX
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NEW YORK, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks posted solid weekly gains for the second week in the new year as progress of trade talks between China and the United States lifted market sentiment.

For the week, the Dow advanced 2.4 percent, the S&P 500 gained 2.5 percent, and the Nasdaq added 3.5 percent.

All three major indices ended on green territory for four consecutive sessions in the past week as negotiations between the world's top two economies showed signs of progress.

On the economic front, the U.S. Federal Reserve released the summary of its December meeting, which showed the central bank is patient on rate hikes.

The Fed officials acknowledged that the policy path ahead is "less clear" after approving an interest rate hike at their recent meeting.

The minutes showed the rate hike came with reluctance from a few members who thought the lack of inflationary pressures argued against another increase.

The minutes came after Fed chair Jerome Powell hinted at slower monetary tightening last Friday.

He said Fed officials were keeping a close eye on the voices of financial market, and that Fed policy was flexible and clung to real-time economic developments.

He added that the central bank would not hesitate to adjust its balance sheet reduction plan if it causes problems in the markets.

U.S. consumer price index for all urban consumers fell 0.1 percent in December, the first drop and weakest reading since March.

Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The decrease was caused by sharp decline of gasoline price but underlying inflation pressures remained firm as rental housing and health care costs rose steadily.

On corporate news, shares of Macy's plunged nearly 18 percent to close at 26.11 U.S. dollars apiece on Thursday after it reported weak holiday sales for 2018 and cut its earnings outlook for the year.

In a statement released on Thursday, the department store chain said online sales in November and December and sales at stores operating for at least 12 months were up a combined 1.1 percent.

The company expected no growth in net sales for fiscal 2018, rather than an increase between 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent that was previously estimated.

American Airlines cut its profit forecast and said it struggled to grow revenue at the end of 2018.

The airline, the largest in the United States, said its revenue per available seat mile, a key industry metric, rose 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 year on year, compared with a range of 1.5 percent o 3.5 percent it gave investors previously.

The airline said excluding special items, it expects to post earnings per diluted share of between 4.40 and 4.60 dollars, down from its estimate in October.

Shares of the airline dropped 4.13 percent to close at 32.04 dollars apiece.

The U.S. government partial shutdown entered its 22nd day on Saturday, the longest lapse in federal funding in history.

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he would cancel his trip to the annual World Economic Forum at Davos later this month due to the shutdown.

Investors were worried that prolonged government shutdown could hurt the economy and financial markets.