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Wall Street ends at records after China's central bank action

US stocks closed higher, with major indexes notching a fifth straight weekly advance after China's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate and its euro zone peer announced asset purchases in efforts to boost each region's economy.

The gains were broad on a day when both the Dow and S&P 500 ended at closing records. All ten primary S&P 500 industry sectors ended the day higher, while 63 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange closed in positive territory. About 50 percent of Nasdaq-listed names were higher on the day.

The People's Bank of China said it was cutting one-year benchmark lending rates for the first time in more than two years.

The move came after European Central Bank head Mario Draghi said "excessively low" inflation had to be raised quickly by whatever means necessary, rekindling expectations the ECB will move to stimulate the euro zone economy. The ECB said it started buying asset- The Dow Jones industrial average rose 88.94 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,807.94, the S&P 500 gained 10.7 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,063.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 11.10 points, or 0.24 percent, to 4,712.97.

Both the Dow and S&P ended at records. For the week, the Dow rose 1 percent, the S&P added 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.5 percent. It was the fifth straight weekly advance for all three.

Gains in the Nasdaq were limited by declines in large-cap tech companies. Microsoft Corp fell 1.5 percent to $47.97 while Netflix Inc slid 2.1 percent to $360.28.

GameStop Corp sank 13 percent to $37.86 a day after the video game retailer posted quarterly revenue and earnings well below expectations. The stock was the biggest decliner on the S&P 500.

The benchmark index's biggest gainers were Ross Stores and Autodesk Inc, both of which rallied after results late Thursday. Ross jumped 7.3 percent to $89.27 while Autodesk was up 6.1 percent to $61.95.

NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 2,029 to 1,039, for a 1.95-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,461 issues rose and 1,286 fell, for a 1.14-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 96 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 111 new highs and 44 new lows.

About 6.5 billion shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, above the month-to-date average of 6.35 billion.

European stocks rallied, with a benchmark index hitting a two-month high, propelled by dovish comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and a surprise interest rate cut in China.

Mining shares, highly sensitive to economic growth in China, featured among the top gainers, with Rio Tinto gaining 6.2 percent and BHP Billiton 5 percent. The STOXX basic resources sector index, which had tumbled nearly 20 percent in the past four months, rose 5.7 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended up 2.1 percent at 1,384.91 points, surging to a level not seen in two months. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index rose 3 percent.

Sentiment was also lifted by comments from ECB chief Mario Draghi which fuelled speculation that the ECB will inject further monetary stimulus into the euro zone economy.

Speaking at a congress in Frankfurt, Draghi highlighted weak economic activity indicators from the bloc and said the central bank would broaden the size, pace and composition of its asset purchase programme if needed.

Italy's MIB index surged 3.9 percent in its biggest one-day rise since mid-2012, led by a sharp rebound in banking share such as Banco Popolare, up 5.4 percent.

Overall, euro zone banks, which have a high exposure to the region's economy and significant holdings of sovereign debt, surged 3.6 percent.

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Tags:  US  stock market  Europe  Nikkei  Mario Draghi  





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