NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks finished solidly higher for a second straight session Thursday following benign US inflation data viewed as reducing the odds of aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 24,739.53, a 0.8 percent gain.
The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.9 percent to close at 2,723.07, and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite also rose 0.9 percent to 7,404.97.
The Consumer Price Index, which tracks costs for household goods and services, rose 0.2 percent in April compared to March, seasonally adjusted, below the 0.3 percent expected by analysts.
Analysts said higher oil prices continue to be a concern as a possible catalyst for inflation to speed up, but that the pricing pressure for now was unlikely to prompt the Fed to accelerate its pace of interest rate increases.
“The CPI data is close to the Fed mandate on an annual basis, but the market remains happy as long as inflation is not accelerating out of control,” said Adam Sarhan founder of 50 Park Investment.
Gains were fairly broad-based with companies including Apple, ExxonMobil, IBM, Johnson and Johnson and Disney among the stronger performers in the Dow with increases above one percent.
Travel company Booking Holdings slumped 4.7 percent after projecting second-quarter earnings of between $16.35 and $17.00 per share, below some analyst expectations.
Qualcomm jumped 3.4 percent after announcing authorization for $10 billion in additional share repurchases.
Ford rose 1.3 percent following an announcement that it suspended production on its best-selling F-150 pickup trucks following a fire at a supplier. However, the automaker said it still had significant inventory of available vehicles at dealerships.