Stocks climb to records on hopes for lower interest rates
The major US stock indexes closed at record highs on Friday, with the S&P 500 ending above 3,000 for the first time. The market was driven higher by technology, consumer discretionary, and industrial company stocks, which more than offset the drop in drugmakers. Investors continued to remain focused on the Federal Reserve, which is expected to cut its benchmark interest rate later this month. Investors have bet heavily that the Fed is moving that direction, moving stock and bond yields higher in the last two weeks. Health care stocks took some of the heaviest losses. Eli Lilly, Merck, and Pfizer all fell more than 1 percent. Pharmaceutical companies also fell on Thursday after the White House withdrew a plan to overhaul the rebates that drugmakers pay insurers and distributors.