NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening solidly in the green on Wall Street as investors applaud a strong set of quarterly results from Macy’s and other retailers. The better-than-expected reports helped allay investors’ worries about the sector, which took big losses last week after Target and Walmart reported dismal results. Macy’s and a few other big retailers including Dollar General soared after reporting that they were doing well despite sharply higher inflation. The S&P 500 climbed 1% in the early going Thursday, keeping the benchmark index on track for its first weekly gain after seven weeks of losses. European markets were higher.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. markets marched higher before the open, one day after details from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting confirmed expectations of more interest rate hikes but no big surprises.
On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8%, as did the S&P 500.
Investors are uneasy over the impact of interest rate hikes in the United States and other Western economies to cool surging inflation. Wednesday's Fed release showed board members support 0.5-percentage-point hikes at their next two meetings. That will weigh on economic activity but already has been factored into stock prices.
There were no “hawkish or dovish surprises” or mentions of a bigger increase, Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report.
In midday trading, Frankfurt's DAX and the CAC in Paris each advanced 0.8%. London's FTSE 100 shifted between small gains and losses.
Shares in VMware rose in premarket trading after computer chip and software maker Broadcom said it will acquire the cloud technology company for $61 billion. VMware has risen more than 30% this week on rumors that a deal was imminent. If the tie-up goes through, it will be one of the biggest deals of the year, despite rising inflation and some economic uncertainty.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index rose 0.9% after from this month's Fed meeting showed board members agreed half-point rate hikes “would likely be appropriate.” That would be double the usual margin of increases.
The Dow gained 0.6% and the Nasdaq composite climbed 1.5%.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.5% to 3,123.11 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo lost 0.3% to 26,604.84. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.3% to 20,116.20.
The Kospi in Seoul declined 0.2% to 2,612.45 after the South Korean central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 1.75%.
“With price pressures set to remain elevated in the near term, we expect the Bank to continue hiking in quick succession over the coming months," Alex Holmes of Capital Economics said in a report.
Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 ended 0.7% lower at 7,105.90.
India's Sensex gained 0.8% to 54,173.63. New Zealand declined while Southeast Asian markets rose.
Investors also are worried about the impact of Russia's February invasion of Ukraine and an unexpectedly sharp Chinese economic slowdown.
They hope the Fed can cool inflation that is running at a four-decade high without tipping the biggest global economy into recession.
The Fed raised its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points at its May meeting in its most aggressive move in two decades. It indicated more hikes were to come.
The S&P 500 is coming off of a seven-week series of declines that came close to ending the bull market for stocks that began in March 2020.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose 88 cents to $111.21 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the price basis for international oils, gained 56 cents to $111.68 per barrel in London.
The dollar declined to 127.01 yen from 127.32 yen. The euro rose to $1.0713.