Wall Street heads into the long weekend on a high note

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  • Indexes trimmed early weekly losses on another batch of encouraging earnings reports.
  • The NYSE and the NASDAQ will remain closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.

Better-than-expected US Retail Sales, indicating solid consumption in the country, lifted not only the greenback this Thursday but also sent the DJIA to fresh yearly highs. The index added 110 points and settled at 26,559, down from an intraday high of 26,601. The S&P and the Nasdaq also finished in the green, although up barely 2 and 4 points respectively. Anyway, the three major indexes are at a striking distance of all-time highs.

The Dow’s recovery was backed by a strong rebound in the health-care sector after it spent the week under pressure and solid earnings report from big names such as Caterpillar and American Express. The earnings season is off to a great start with a large majority of companies topping expectations.

Retail sales in the US rose by 1.6% in March, largely surpassing the expected 0.4% advance, and posting the strongest gain in seven months, another sign of economic growth in the world’s largest economy.

A political factor backing gains among equities was the Mueller Report released mid-day, which concluded that there was no collusion with Russia as the investigation couldn’t establish that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to interfere elections, despite the overwhelming probed contracts between campaign officials and Russian representatives. Furthermore, the report indicated that collusion is not a federal crime. The report didn’t paint a nice picture of President Trump and his advisors, but given that there was no probed criminal activity, stocks rose on relief.

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