Banks drive US stocks higher

New York: US stocks closed higher, pushed up mainly by bank shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 73.38 points, or 0.28 percent, to 26,599.96 on Friday. The S&P 500 rose 16.84 points, or 0.58 percent, to 2,941.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 38.49 points, or 0.48 percent, to 8,006.24, Xinhua reported.

Major banks shares including J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America all rose more than 2.5 percent for the day. Their gains came after they passed the Federal Reserve’s annual stress test and got approval to boost dividends and share repurchase programs on Thursday.

On the economic front, the University of Michigan said the final reading of its consumer sentiment index in June was 98.2, slightly higher than economists’ expectations, but lower than the 100 reading in May.

Richard Curtin, the chief economist of the university’s surveys of consumers, said in a statement that June’s decline was entirely due to households with incomes in the top third of the distribution, who more frequently mentioned the negative impact of tariffs, cited by 45 percent, up from 30 percent last month.

“Most of the June slippage was concentrated in prospects for the national economy, with the unemployment rate expected to inch upward instead of drifting downward in the year ahead,” said Curtin.