U.S. Stocks Rally As Weak Data Reignites Rate Cut Hopes

Stocks have shown a strong move to the upside over the course morning trading on Thursday, rebounding following the sell-off seen late in the previous session. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory but remain below their record highs. In recent trading, the major averages have seen further upside, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow is up 243.61 points or 0.9 percent at 27,107.88, the Nasdaq is up 116.18 points or 1.4 percent at 8,291.60 and the S&P 500 is up 26.63 points or 0.9 percent at 3,007.01. The strength that has emerged on Wall Street comes as weaker than expected U.S. economic data has resurrected investors' hopes for future interest rate cuts. Shortly after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management released a report unexpectedly showing a continued slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity in the month of July. The ISM said its purchasing managers index dipped to 51.2 in July after edging down to 51.7 in June. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to inch up to 52.0. With the continued decrease, the purchasing managers index dropped to its lowest level since hitting 49.6 in August of 2016. A separate report from the Commerce Department showed U.S. construction spending plunged by 1.3 percent to in June after falling by 0.5 percent in May. The data reignited optimism about future rate cuts that was dashed by yesterday's comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed cut interest rates as expected on Wednesday, but Powell spooked the markets by suggesting the move may not be the first in a series of rate cuts. In his post-meeting press conference, Powell described the rate cut "essentially as a mid-cycle adjustment to policy." Powell suggested that the rate cut should not be seen as "the beginning of a lengthy cutting cycle," adding, "That is not what we're seeing now, that's not our perspective now." The comments from Powell were seen as likely to anger President Donald Trump, who predictably lashed out at the Fed chief in a series of posts on Twitter. "What the Market wanted to hear from Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve was that this was the beginning of a lengthy and aggressive rate-cutting cycle," Trump tweeted. "As usual, Powell let us down." Trump did offer muted praise for the Fed's plan to end the reduction of bonds it is holding on its balance sheet in August, two months earlier than previously indicated. "At least he is ending quantitative tightening, which shouldn't have started in the first place - no inflation," Trump tweeted. "We are winning anyway, but I am certainly not getting much help from the Federal Reserve!" Software and computer hardware stocks are turning in some of the market's best performances in morning trading, contributing to the notable advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Biotechnology, gold and tobacco stocks are also seeing considerable strength, while energy stocks are moving sharply lower along with the price of crude oil..