US stock markets close at record highs as enthusiasm for AI drives gains

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US stock markets closed at record highs on Friday powered by investors’ continued enthusiasm for artificial intelligence (AI).

Both the S&P 500 and the tech-dominated Nasdaq set records, with the Nasdaq passing its last peak in 2021, driven higher by gains for Facebook owner Meta and Nvidia, the leading AI chipmaker.

Nvidia closed above $2tn in market value for the first time. Nvidia’s market value has doubled in nine months. Shares of rival Advanced Micro Devices also reached a record high, and the broader Philadelphia semiconductor index set a new record.

Including the Dow Jones index, all three major indexes notched their fourth straight month of gains in a rally largely fueled by growth prospects related to AI.

Markets have drawn support from a resilient economy, as investors have tried to gauge the timing of the first interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, with investors currently targeting June and nurturing expectations the central bank can engineer a soft landing for the economy.

“Because the economy is doing well and because inflation remains a bit sticky, the Fed will be slower to lower interest rates,” said Sam Stovall, the chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

“But that’s good because then we’re gradually coming off of the higher interest rate cycle and we’re not in need of cutting rates aggressively.”

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 41.16 points, or 0.81%, to end at 5,137.43 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 183.02 points, or 1.14%, to 16,272.22. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90.43 points, or 0.24%, to 39,088.11.

Reuters contributed reporting

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