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15/02/24 Briefing

Stocks popped on Thursday, with the S&P 500 (^GSPC) hitting a fresh record high, despite a disappointing retail sales report that raised questions about a "soft landing" scenario for the US economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) rose 0.9%, or almost 350 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) added 0.3%. The S&P 500 was up nearly 0.6% to hit a record closing high of 5,029.73.

Stocks have put an early-week rout in the rearview mirror, recouping all of the steep losses booked Tuesday after a hot inflation print dented hopes for interest rate cuts. Comments from Federal Reserve policymakers playing down the data helped soothe nerves.

But investors are still wondering whether the rout was a one-off, with some seasonal weakness playing a part, or the start of a bigger pullback. Many Wall Street strategists have pointed out that there were signs of resilience even as stocks tumbled.

On Thursday, investors turned their focus on January retail sales, which fell 0.8% from the prior month, raising questions about consumer resilience and the chance of a "no landing" scenario for the US.

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