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* Nike surges to record after strong profit forecast
* FedEx slips after missing 2022 earnings forecast
* Virgin Galactic soars on approval for space tourism
* Indexes: Dow +0.68%, S&P 500 +0.30%, Nasdaq -0.04% (Updates with afternoon trading)
June 25 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record high on Friday, lifted by Nike and several banks, while weaker-than-expected inflation data eased worries about a sudden tapering in stimulus by the Federal Reserve.
Nike Inc surged 15% to an all-time high after the sneaker maker forecast fiscal full-year sales ahead of Wall Street estimates, helping the Dow lead among the three main indexes.
Bank of America and Wells Fargo each jumped more than 2% after the Fed announced big banks have cleared stress test and will no longer face pandemic-related restrictions on buying back stock and paying dividends.
The S&P 500 financials index rose 1.2%, the top performer among 11 sector indexes.
“Today is a bit of profit-taking in tech and a reallocation into the banks after the results of the stress tests,” said Dennis Dick, a proprietary trader at Bright Trading LLC, adding he expects banks to soon announce increased dividends.
A bipartisan Senate deal on infrastructure spending embraced by U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday continued to lift stocks, with the materials and industrials indexes up about 0.5% each, helping the S&P 500 outperform the Nasdaq.
“The positive news from the infrastructure package favors the S&P 500 more than then Nasdaq. The Nasdaq does not pour cement into roads and put steel in bridges. That’s the S&P 500,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The latest personal consumption expenditures (PCE) data showed a measure of underlying inflation rose less than expected in May. Core PCE rose 3.4% year-over-year as expected, above the Fed’s 2% flexible target.
Investors were also girding for potentially the biggest trading event of the year, as FTSE Russell reconstitutes its indexes which could reflect a wild trading year marked by the pandemic and a “meme” stock craze.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.68% at 34,430.45 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.30% to 4,279.28.
The Nasdaq Composite dropped -0.04% to 14,363.87.
FedEx Corp dropped 3.7% after the U.S. delivery firm missed 2022 earnings forecast due to hiring difficulties.
CarMax Inc jumped 6% after the used-car retailer topped Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue, helped by strong demand as more people opted for personal vehicles over public transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Billionaire Richard Branson’s spaceship company Virgin Galactic surged 31% after receiving approval from the U.S. aviation safety regulator to fly people to space.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.51-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.46-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 110 new highs and 10 new lows.
Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Aurora Ellis