US stocks gain with Apple leading

New York: Wall Street stocks advanced early Thursday as the market continued to digest the latest Federal Reserve interest rate hike and Apple rallied following a bullish analyst report.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 26,416.51, up 0.1 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 percent to 2,913.59, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.4 percent to 8,042.67.

The gains were a reversal from Wednesday, when stocks fell after the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates and tweaked its commentary in a way that some viewed as suggesting a more aggressive approach to future rate increases.

But most analysts said the Fed’s action had been well telegraphed and should confirm broad confidence in the US economy, without raising worries that it will tighten monetary policy too quickly, especially since the central bankers rate forecasts showed no change in the policy path.

Apple jumped 2.1 percent to $225.01 after JPMorgan Chase set a price target of $272 based on expectations for strong growth and more share repurchases.

US-traded shares of Petrobras rose 1.6 percent after US and Brazilian officials fined it more than $853 million over the cover up of a bribery scandal.

The company said the settlement “puts an end to the uncertainties, risks, burdens and costs of potential prosecution and protracted litigation in the United States.”

Bed Bath & Beyond dived 22.1 percent after second quarter profits fell by nearly 50 percent to $48.6 million. The weak results came as other retailers have benefited from the strengthening US economy.