US stocks hit new highs on Friday amid optimism the US Federal Reserve will soon cut its benchmark interest rate. Thus, the S&P 500 gained 0.5% to close at 3,013.77, its first time closing above the 3,000 level. For the week, the index advanced by 0.60%. The gains came a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 27,000 for the first time. The Dow jumped by almost 1% on Friday to close at 27,332 with a 1.36% weekly gain. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index rose by 0.6% to close at 8,244. For the week, the index advanced by 0.90%. Traders remain focused on the Federal Reserve. The Fed is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate later this month for the first time in more than a decade to help counter slowing
US economic growth. Investors have grown more confident in that, thus moving stocks higher in the last two weeks. In his two-day testimony before Congress, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the US economy was still under threat from disappointing factory activity, tame inflation and a trade war and that the central bank stood ready to “act as appropriate.” In the meantime, health care stocks took some of the heaviest losses. Elly Lilly’s shares fell considerably to close at 108.29 on Friday, with a 5.36% weekly loss. The shares took a nosedive after the drugmaker announced that Christi Shaw, senior vice president and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines will leave the company at the end of August. Separately, another drugmaker Johnson & Johnson was down 5%. Bloomberg News reported that the company, a Dow component, is under a criminal investigation for possibly lying to the public about the cancer risks found in its ever-popular baby powder. Meanwhile, technology, industrial companies and retailers put up some of the biggest gains last week. Thus, the Boeing Company closed at 365.33 on Friday with a 1.76% daily gain and rising by 3.06% on a weekly basis.