U.S. stocks were trading up Friday, following positive momentum from Europe as traders digested remarks by U.S. Fed Chair Janet Yellen Thursday night. Positive U.S. economic growth data released before markets opened also helped boost Wall Street confidence.
Yellen said in a speech in Massachusetts that it’s likely the Fed will begin increasing interest rates before the end of the year for the first time in nearly a decade. The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday that U.S. gross domestic product increased at an annualized rate of 3.9 percent, above expectations of 3.7 percent growth.
“Consumer demand is running at a healthy pace, driven by job and income growth,” Guy Lebas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, told Bloomberg. “The expansion continues in 2015.” Consumer spending and construction activity helped lift the economy in the April-to-June quarter. Household purchases are expected to continue at a robust pace as gas prices remain low, hiring picks up and home prices rise.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 169.10, or 1.04 percent, to 16,370 Friday morning. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 13.35 points, or 0.69 percent, to 1,946. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) increased 31.20 points, or 0.65 percent, to 4,765.
Nine out of 10 major sectors were in the green Friday morning, with utilities down slightly. Financial and consumer goods stocks led sector gains in early trading. Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) gained more than 7 percent after the world’s largest athletic footwear maker beat revenue estimates in its latest quarterly earnings report released after markets on Thursday. The company said customers accepted higher prices and it saw improvement in Chinese sales.
Digital payment processor Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) got a lift by a positive Buy rating from Canaccord while tech firm 3M Co (NYSE:MMM) was boosted by a Credit Suisse upgrade from Neutral to Outperform. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock jumped 1.01 percent in early trading as the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s hit stores today.
Main Asian stock markets gained, led by a 1.76 percent rise of Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 after hitting a two-week low on Friday, dragged down by the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal that spread concern to Japanese automotive parts suppliers. Japanese stocks were lifted by news manufacturing activity expanded in Septmeber. Oracle Corporation Japan (TYO:4716) led Japanese tech company gains after the information technology’s U.S. parent reported strong earnings for the June-August quarter. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed gained 0.43 percent while the mainland’s Shanghai Composite Index gained dropped 1.6 percent after starting the trading session in the green on speculation President Xi Jinping's state visit would help boost technology exports.
Europe’s major indexes continued to rally toward the end of the trading day after climbing sharply early in the day as concerns over the health of the global economy was calmed by Fed Chair Yellen’s comments. . France’s CAC 40 led European markets with a 3.88 percent rise while Germany’s DAX and London’s FTSE 100 were both up 2.94 percent and 2.51 percent, respectively.
A selloff in European automotive stocks earlier in the week spurred investors to buy on the dips. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (FRA:BMW), the world’s largest luxury automaker, gained 4.16 percent Friday afternoon in Frankfurt, a day after concerns Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal would spread to other automakers led investors to dump BMW stock on Thursday. Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG (FRA:DAI) saw a similar bounce as the week’s trading was winding down in Europe. France’s
Oil prices were boosted by positive market momentum on Friday. West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange, gained 1.43 percent to $45.55 per barrel for November delivery. On the London ICE Futures Exchange, Brent crude for November advanced 0.60 percent to $48.46 a barrel.