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17/05/24 Briefing

US stocks ticked upward Friday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) closed at 40,000 for the first time ever.

The Dow rose 0.3% to score its record high. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) ticked up 0.1%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) slipped 0.1%, but all the gauges notched weekly wins.

Investor enthusiasm for interest rate cuts rose this week in light of April's encouraging inflation data. The run-up in stocks then hit a bump on Thursday in the wake of warnings from Fed officials that rates are likely to stay at historic highs for a while. While Fedspeak rattled bets on the likelihood of a September cut, it wasn't enough to stop the indexes from rising higher on Friday.

That put the spotlight on appearances by Fed officials. On Friday, US Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman reiterated her view that the central bank has not made progress this year on curbing inflation, she said in a speech in Nashville, Tennessee. Bowman said she is willing to raise rates again at a future meeting if incoming data shows further stalling.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell was scheduled to deliver remarks at Georgetown University’s Law School graduation this Sunday, but he will now be speaking through a pre-recorded video, after he tested positive for COVID-19, a central bank spokesperson said on Friday.

In individual movers, Reddit (RDDT) shares jumped 10%, not far off its highest close of $65.11 hit in March. The social media platform has signed a partnership with OpenAI that will see ChatGPT integrate content from its forums.

Meanwhile, GameStop (GME) shares sank over 19% after the games retailer said it expects first quarter sales to drop as shoppers shift to online outlets. Shares in the meme stock soared at the start of the week in an echo of the 2021 frenzy, but the rally has turned into a slide in recent days.

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