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Gains by banks, Nike boost US stocks


AFP |

Wall Street stocks opened decisively higher on Friday after most banks passed US stress tests and Dow member Nike reported strong earnings.

The benchmark is the Fed’s preferred inflation measure and will likely keep the US central bank on track to keep lifting interest rates.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.9 percent at 24,436.11.

The broad based S&P 500 gained 0.7 percent to 2,734.87, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.7 percent to 7,556.66.

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US stocks have been under pressure much of the week due to lingering worries about trade wars.

Those concerns are still around but stocks enjoyed positive catalysts on Friday.

Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase both climbed more than one percent and Wells Fargo surged 5.2 percent after all three were given the green light by the Federal Reserve to return cash to shareholders.

The largest US banks were cleared for the cash distributions, giving a boost to a sector that had been slumping of late.

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Meanwhile, Nike powered 11 percent higher after its earnings easily topped analyst expectations and it announced a $15 billion share buyback program, while offering an upbeat outlook on its online-based direct selling program.

In terms of data releases, a key measure of US inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, hit a six-year high in May. The benchmark is the Fed’s preferred inflation measure and will likely keep the US central bank on track to keep lifting interest rates.