Wall Street closed higher as investors digested the European Central Bank’s step towards ending its crisis-era stimulus efforts and US President Donald Trump saying he was willing to make exceptions to new steel and aluminium tariffs for co-operative trading partners.
The S&P 500 closed 0.5 per cent higher on Thursday with all sectors except energy in the black.
A key focal point for the US market was Mr Trump’s afternoon meeting at the White House where he announced he was willing to make exemptions to those new tariffs for “real friends”, namely Mexico and Canada.
A number of US steel stocks, such as Nucor, US Steel and AK Steel, ended more than 3 per cent lower, but are higher over the past week when the tariffs were first announced by the president.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite each added 0.4 per cent.
The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a weighted basket of global peers, was up 0.6 per cent at 90.131 in afternoon trade. The peso strengthened to as much as 18.61 per dollar, a near-two week high, while the loonie was slightly firmer at C$1.2894.
Boosting the dollar index was a drop in the euro, which was 0.8 per cent weaker in late US trade at $1.2312. The single currency rallied earlier in the session when the ECB used its latest policy meeting to drop a commitment to buy more bonds and expand its quantitative easing programme.
US Treasuries were stronger as yields, which move inversely to bond prices, fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note was down 2.2 basis points at 2.8607 per cent.