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Overnight Markets: S&P 500 closes at a record on Fed optimism

Overnight Markets: S&P 500 closes at a record on Fed optimism

The S&P 500 closed at another record high on Thursday, extending gains for a fifth day as the Federal Reserve’s policy statement fuelled optimism that the economic recovery will accelerate.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 15 points or 0.09%, to end at 16,921. The S&P 500 gained three points or 0.13%, to close at 1,959. The Nasdaq Composite fell four points or 0.08%, to 4,359.

Stocks rallied yesterday after Fed Chair Janet Yellen said accommodative monetary policy, rising property and equity prices and the improving global economy should lead to above-trend growth.

Yellen emphasised the need to put more Americans back to work and downplayed concerns about asset-price bubbles and incipient inflation.

Energy shares were among the top gainers after oil prices ended higher after President Barack Obama said he was sending up to 300 US military advisers to Iraq as the Iraqi government's troops fought Sunni rebels for control of the country's biggest refinery. Shares of Chevron Corp (CVX.N) added 1.3%.

Kroger Co. advanced 5.1% as it increased its full-year profit forecast.

Coach Inc's (COH.N) stock slid 8.9% and was the S&P 500's biggest percentage decliner after the upscale retailer said it expected revenue to fall by low double digits in percentage terms for the year ending June 2015.

Shares of Pier 1 Imports (PIR.N) fell 13.1% after the home decor retailer cut its full-year earnings forecast. Shares of Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (KORS.N), a Coach rival, fell 1.6%.

On the plus side, US-listed shares of BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY.O) jumped 9.7% after the Canadian smartphone maker reported a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss.

In economic data, initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000, slightly below the 314,000 forecast. Factory activity in the US Mid-Atlantic region grew at a faster pace than expected in June.

In Asia, shares declined on Friday in morning trade as materials and technology companies dropped.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.1% to 145 as of 9:49 a.m. in Hong Kong. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.4% and South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.9%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index slid 0.7% and the Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.1%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index and Taiwan’s Taiex Index were little changed. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.1%.

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