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S&P 500, Nasdaq 100 Climb To Record Highs As Data Fosters Rate Cut Optimism Ahead Of Fed Minutes; Gold, Bonds Rally: What's Driving Markets Wednesday?

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 indices surged to new all-time highs on Thursday, as investors heightened their expectations for rate cuts following June’s sharply lower-than-expected services sector activity, which experienced its worst contraction since May 2020. Market-implied odds of a Fed rate cut in September rose from 65% to 72%, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool, with traders pricing in more than 50 basis points of rate cuts by year end, implying two fully priced rate reductions by the Fed. Risk sentiment was particularly strong ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Minutes, slated to be released at 2:00 p.m. ET. Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ:NVDA) and the chip making industry, as tracked by the iShares Semiconductor ETF (NYSE:SOXX), rebounded, up 3.7% and 1.9%, respectively. Strong gains also stemmed from gold miners, with the VanEck Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDX) up 4.2%, eyeing one of ...