Wall Street posts strong gains led by technology

  • Technology lifts major indexes higher on Thursday.
  • The United States' tariffs on Chinese imports are expected to go into effect on Friday.
  • The FOMC minutes reaffirms plan for two more rate hikes.

Major equity indexes started the day higher on Thursday amid an improved market sentiment and extended their upside to end the day with meaningful gains. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), Wall Street's fear gauge, dropped more than 7% on the day.

The United States' tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods is scheduled to go into effect at 04:01 GMT on Friday. Although there were no fresh headlines suggesting an attempt to reach a last-minute deal to avoid a possible trade war, reports of the U.S. possibly backing away from tariffs on European cars were cheered by the participants.

"There's a lot of uncertainty, but the markets have reacted fairly calmly and rationally. There's been a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of actual action in terms of a trade war," Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York, told Reuters. The risk-sensitive technology sector outperformed other major indexes with the S&P 500 Information Technology Index (SPLRCT) adding 1.5% on the day.

In the second half of the session, the FOMC minutes reassured markets that the economy was in a very healthy state with a strong labor market and gradual rate hikes were appropriate. However, most Committee members reportedly voiced their concerns over the potential negative impact of the Trump administration's trade policy on the economy.

Today's data from the U.S. showed that activity in the service sector expanded at a robust pace in June with ISM and Markit PMI readings surpassing the market expectations. In the meantime, the ADP's monthly report showed that private payrolls rose less than expected from May to June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 182.74 points, or 0.76%, to 24,357.56, the S&P 500 rose 23.51 points, or 0.87%, to 2,736.73 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 83.75 points, or 1.12%, to 7,586.43.

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