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* Weekly jobless claims increase
* Accenture, Salesforce up on forecast
* Indices: Dow up 1.7%, S&P up 1.4%, Nasdaq up 1.1% (late afternoon updates)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
September 23 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks jumped more than 1% on Thursday as investors appeared relieved at the Federal Reserve’s stance on reducing stimulus and raising interest rates.
The optimistic outlook from Accenture and Salesforce helped bolster the market, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday evening for those 65 and older.
Sentiment also helped, concerns about contagion from China Evergrande continued to subside.
The Fed said on Wednesday it could start cutting its monthly bond purchases as early as November and that interest rates could rise faster than expected by next year. The November deadline has been largely integrated by the markets.
In a press conference after the statement, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the bar for raising rates from zero is much higher than for cutting.
“This is a rally after a very good Fed meeting,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.
“For me, it showed that there weren’t any surprises and that things were as expected,” he said. “Any Fed rate hike is a long way off and so much can change between now and then.”
Energy and financial stocks were among the best performing in the sector.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 564.2 points, or 1.65%, to 34,822.52, the S&P 500 gained 61.87 points, or 1.41%, to 4,457.51 and the Nasdaq Composite added 168.88 points, or 1.13%, to 15,065.73.
Shares of IT service provider Salesforce jumped 7.3%, and the company boosted the S&P and Dow Jones sharply after raising its annual profit forecast.
Accenture added 2.6% after the computer consulting firm improved its outlook for the first quarter.
Concerns eased further over a potential default by Chinese property developer Evergrande, even as Reuters reported that some holders of the company’s dollar bonds had given up hope of securing a coupon payment before a deadline. Thursday key.
Investors ignored data showing sluggish growth in business activity and an increase in jobless claims, in line with expectations of slower economic growth in the third quarter.
The S&P 500 broke its 50-day moving average, after trading below the indicator for three sessions – its biggest breach since early March.
The advancing issues outnumbered the declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 2.20 to 1; on the Nasdaq, a ratio of 2.66 to 1 favored the advances.
The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 93 new highs and 44 new lows.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York; Additional reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Maju Samuel)