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Stock market today: Wall Street extends its push into record highs, led by chipmakers

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, March 20, 2024. U.S. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell announced that there was no rate cuts today, but signaled there may be later in the year. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are extending their push to record highs in early trading on Wall Street, led by big gains in chipmakers. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% in the early going Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 177 points, or 0.5%. The Nasdaq composite added 0.8%. Micron led chipmakers higher after reporting blowout results for its latest quarter that easily surpassed analysts’ expectations. Traders will be keeping a close eye on Reddit, whose shares begin trading today. Treasury yields were mostly steady a day after the Federal Reserve said it still expects to make three rate cuts this year.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

TOKYO (AP) — Global benchmarks were mostly higher on Thursday after U.S. stocks rallied to records following indications from the Federal Reserve that it expects to deliver interest rate cuts later this year.

France's CAC 40 rose 0.5% in morning trading to 8,199.57, while Germany's DAX edged up 0.8% to 18,159.77. Britain's FTSE 100 surged nearly 1.2% to 7,829.19. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow futures up 0.4% at 40,081.00. S&P 500 futures rose 0.4% to 5,309.50.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.0% to finish at a record high 40,815.66 after the government reported exports grew nearly 8% in February from a year earlier, in the third straight month of increase.

Shipments of cars and electrical machinery increase, helping to trim the trade deficit to about half of what it was a year earlier, at 379 billion yen ($2.5 billion).

Hong Kong’s benchmark surged 1.9%, to 16,863.10, while the Shanghai Composite fell less than 0.1% to 3,077.11, after the Chinese government announced fresh measures to support the economy.

Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 added 1.1% to 7,782.00. South Korea's Kospi gained 2.4% to 2,754.86.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 jumped 0.9% to 5,224.62, an all-time high for a second straight day. The Dow industrials surged 1% and the Nasdaq composite roared 1.3% higher.

The Federal Reserve's survey of its policy makers showed the central bank still expects to deliver three cuts to interest rates in 2024. That’s the same number as they had penciled in three months earlier, and expectations for the relief that such cuts would provide are a big reason U.S. stock prices have set records.

The Fed has been keeping its main interest rate at its highest level since 2001 to grind down inflation. High rates slow the overall economy by making borrowing more expensive and by hurting prices for investments.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he noticed the last two months' worse-than-expected reports, but they “haven’t really changed the overall story, which is that of inflation moving down gradually on a sometimes bumpy road towards 2%. That story hasn't changed.”

In other trading early Thursday, benchmark U.S. crude rose 40 cents to $81.67 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 41 cents to $86.36 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 151.34 Japanese yen from 151.26 yen. The euro cost $1.0892, down from $1.0925.

Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

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