Robust earnings from Alphabet and Starbucks pushed the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes to record highs on Friday, with support from data showing U.S. economic growth slowed less than expected in the second quarter. The U.S. Commerce Department said GDP increased at an annualized rate of 2.1% in the second quarter, higher than a 1.8% rate that economists polled by Reuters forecast. The GDP data further solidified wide expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut rates at its policy meeting next week. Those expectations have powered a solid run in stocks this month, helping Wall Street scale record levels. “This is just what the market needed, not so soft that the economy is slowing down precipitously and not so strong that the Fed is going to reverse course,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York. “It shows that the economy is slowing, but not nearly enough to raise any red flags.” The data comes on the heels of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speech on Monday, which was less dovish than investors had anticipated and led the S&P 500 to post its first loss in the week. Two weeks into the second-quarter earnings… Read full this story
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