Wall Street rebounded on Thursday, helped by strong US economic data and after government officials sought to ease concerns that US President Donald Trump’s pro-growth reforms would be sidelined by the continued controversy enveloping his administration.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 56 points, or 0.27%, to end at 20,663, the S&P 500 gained nine points, or 0.37%, to finish at 2,366 and the Nasdaq Composite added 44 points, or 0.73%, to close at 6,055.
Equities gained after stronger-than-expected US economic data put the focus back on a widely anticipated increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve.
Sentiment also improved amid news that a special counsel had been appointed to oversee the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Shares in telecommunications and consumer discretionary stocks led gains on the S&P 500, while the financial sector recovered 0.3% after falling 3% on Wednesday.
The blue-chip average was led higher by shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. which closed up 3.2% as earnings beat Wall Street forecasts, but revenue fell slightly short.
Meanwhile, shares of Cisco Systems Inc. dragged on the Dow, falling 7.2% and hitting their lowest level since January as the networking giant reported its revenue decline was accelerating and said it would lay off another 1,100 workers.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. rose 0.5% even after earnings fell short of expectations. Shares of Pandora Media Inc. rose 5.5% after a report that Liberty Media is in talks to buy the internet radio company.
CarMax Inc. shares rallied 6.2% after Wedbush Securities raised their price target on the stock to $70.
Shares of Incyte Corp. and ImmunoGen Inc. jumped on promising results from an experimental lung cancer drug. Incyte shares finished up 6.9% while ImmunoGen shares closed up 14%.
In Asia, equities traded sideways on Friday in morning session, following a higher lead from Wall Street as markets in the US took a breather after their worst day of the year.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 erased tepid gains to trade 0.09% lower. South Korea's Kospi edged up by 0.03%.
Down Under, Australia's benchmark ASX 200 index declined 0.42%, largely driven by its financials and energy sub-indexes.
Greater Chinese markets were in the green, with the Hang Seng Index mostly flat and up by 0.02%. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.07% while the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.275%.