Stocks rise on top Fed official call for quick rate cut

U.S. stocks reversed early session declines Thursday after a top Federal Reserve official called for a prompt interest rate cut, sparking tech and bank share increases that lifted all three major indexes into positive territory.

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New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said in a speech that central banks should “act quickly to lower rates at the first sign of economic distress,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES22679.99+1,627.46+7.73%
SP500S&P 5002663.68+175.03+7.03%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX7913.238014+540.15+7.33%

Apple and IBM both posted strong gains and bank stocks also boosted averages.

Oil prices extended losses, dropping nearly 2 percent to $55.65 per barrel, which hit shares of producers like Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AAPLAPPLE INC.262.47+21.06+8.72%
STISUNTRUST BANKS70.13+0.87+1.26%

Shares of Netflix tumbled. The streaming site posted a loss of 126,000 paid users in the U.S. and missed expectations for international additions, a key area of growth for the firm, in the second quarter. Executives attributed the shortfalls to a weak slate of content. Netflix shares were down double-digits in futures trading on the news.

Consumer-oriented stocks like Dollar Tree also fell.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
NFLXNETFLIX INC.379.96+18.20+5.03%
DLTRDOLLAR TREE INC.76.28+6.04+8.60%

Earnings also influenced Wall Street. UnitedHealth Group on Thursday raised its 2019 profit outlook after beating estimates for financial results through June. Underscoring the growth is a 13.4 percent growth in revenue at Optum, the insurer’s in-house pharmacy benefit manager, to $28 billion.

The middleman drug price negotiators are in the midst of a victory lap after the Trump administration decided to abandon a proposal that would have eliminated the arcane drug rebates that flow from pharmaceutical firms to Optum and other PBMs.

Morgan Stanley wrapped up earnings season for the big banks, topping estimates with a second-quarter profit of $1.23 per share on revenue of $10.2 billion.

Early session declines reflected dimming hope for a prompt resolution to the U.S.-China trade conflict.

President Trump on Wednesday took another dig at China, blasting its slowing economy and touting the U.S.'s economic strength at a rally on Wednesday, as the two nations seek to restart trade talks. But Trump and top White House officials are cautioning that any agreement is far in the future, spurring pessimism among investors that a deal is possible.


In economic news, initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 216,000 for the week ended July 13, the Labor Department said.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 2.03 percent.Opens a New Window.