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17-May2018

US markets closed higher despite rising bond yields

The US markets closed higher on Wednesday, with major indexes advancing in a broad rally as investors appeared to shake off fears of rising bond yields, helping equities resume a recent uptrend. In addition, there was some political uncertainty surrounding North Korea, after Pyongyang overnight signaled its leader, Kim Jong Un, might pull out of next month's summit with President Donald Trump if the US insists on denuclearization for the isolated nation. St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said he believes the Fed's policy rate is pretty close to neutral, and that further rate hikes would act to slow economic growth and push downward on inflation.

On the economy front, industrial production rose 0.7% in April. The gain was slightly above expectations of a 0.6% increase. There was a mix of revisions to the prior two months that were downward on net. Still, output rose at a 2.3% rate in the first quarter. Capacity utilization rose to 78% in April, a three-year high. Manufacturing output rose 0.5% in April after a flat reading in March. Motor vehicle output fell 1.3%. Mining output, which includes oil and gas production, rose 1.1% while utility output was up 1.9%. In April, the rise in industrial production was supported by increases in every major market group.

On the other hand, construction on new houses dropped 3.7% in April. The annual rate of new homes being built declined to 1.29 million last month from a revised 1.34 million pace in March that was the strongest since mid-2007.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 62.52 points or 0.25 percent to 24,768.93, the Nasdaq gained 46.668 points or 0.63 percent to 7,398.30, and the S&P 500 was up by 11.01 points or 0.41 percent to 2,722.46.


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