NEW YORK, March 2 ― US stocks rose yesterday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closing at record highs, as technology stocks rallied on continued enthusiasm for artificial intelligence, with further support from declining Treasury yields.

The gains marked the second straight closing record for the Nasdaq, which also set an intraday record as AI-related names such as Nvidia and Meta Platforms led it past its prior peak of 16,212.23 set in November 2021.

Through the end of February, the three major indexes notched their fourth straight month of gains in a rally largely fuelled by growth prospects related to AI, which has also lifted semiconductor names.


Yesterday, shares of Nvidia climbed 4 per cent and closed above US$2 trillion (RM9.5 trillion) in market value for the first time. Rival Advanced Micro Devices shares gained 5.25 per cent to a record high close of US$202.64, while the broader Philadelphia semiconductor index also closed at a record after a jump of 4.29 per cent on the session.

Markets have drawn support from a resilient economy, as investors have tried to gauge the timing of the first interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, with investors currently targeting June and growing expectations the central bank can engineer a soft landing for the economy.

"Because the economy is doing well and because inflation remains a bit sticky, the Fed will be slower to lower interest rates," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research in New York.


"But that's good because then we're gradually coming off of the higher interest rate cycle and we're not in need of cutting rates aggressively."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 90.99 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 39,087.38, the S&P 500 gained 40.81 points, or 0.80 per cent, to 5,137.08 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 183.02 points, or 1.14 per cent, to 16,274.94.

For the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.95 per cent, the Nasdaq rose 1.74 per cent, and the Dow fell 0.11 per cent.

Despite a strong services sector and tight labour market, the economy still shows pockets of weakness, notably in manufacturing, although data on Friday included some signs of a possible rebound.

That helped push US Treasury yields lower, with the two-year note yield falling to as low as 4.519 per cent.

Fed Governor Chris Waller said upcoming decisions about the ultimate size of its balance sheet have no bearing on its inflation fight.

Fellow Fed Governor Adriana Kugler said she is cautiously optimistic progress will continue on disinflation without a significant weakening of the labour market, and that the central bank has avoided a wage-price spiral. Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said it is too soon to predict when the Fed will be able to begin cutting rates.

The S&P 500 tech index was the top performer of the 11 major sectors, gaining 1.78 per cent, while utilities were weakest, showing a decline of 0.72 per cent.

Among major movers, New York Community Bancorp tumbled 25.89 per cent after the regional lender said it had found "material weaknesses" in internal controls related to its loan review and revised its fourth-quarter loss to 10 times above the previously stated numbers, which helped send the KBW regional banking index 1.27 per cent lower.

Dell Technologies surged 31.62 per cent, its biggest daily percentage gain ever, after the personal computer maker forecast annual revenue and profit above Wall Street estimates.

Gains on the Dow were curbed in part by a 1.83 per cent fall in Boeing after a report said the planemaker was in talks to buy supplier Spirit AeroSystems.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.29-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.55-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 87 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows while the Nasdaq recorded 363 new highs and 88 new lows. ― Reuters