Stocks racked up more gains on Wall Street on Friday, as the S&P 500 had its best day in two years and only its second winning week in the past 12 to provide some relief from the market’s sharp selloff this year.
The benchmark rose 3.1%, with technology and banks leading the overall rally. The S&P 500 posted a 6.4% gain for the week, erasing the sharp loss it suffered a week earlier, although it is still nearly 20% below its record set at the start of this week. year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.7% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended up 3.3%. Both indexes also posted a weekly gain that more than offset their losses last week.
Stocks have rallied this week as pressure from rising Treasury yields eases somewhat and investors believe the Federal Reserve may not have to be as aggressive in raising interest rates. interest than previously thought as it struggles to control inflation.
The gains are a respite from Wall Street’s slide for most of the year, caused by the Fed and other central banks backtracking on the huge support provided to markets during the pandemic. Hoping to combat extremely high inflation, central banks raised interest rates and took other actions that hurt investment prices and threatened to slow the economy enough to trigger a recession. More such moves are sure to come.
“It’s been a good week,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. “It’s rare. At least in 2022, we’ve only had a few weeks where we’ve been net positive. It’s pretty much like what we saw towards the end of May, and that one is going is of course collapsed.
The S&P 500 rose 116.01 points to 3,911.74. The Dow climbed 823.32 points to 31,500.68. The Nasdaq gained 375.43 points to 11,607.62.
Stocks of small companies also rallied. The Russell 2000 rose 54.06 points, or 3.2%, to 1,765.74.
Parts of the US economy are still bubbling, particularly the job market, but some discouraging signals have emerged recently. A report on Friday confirmed that consumer sentiment had fallen to its lowest level since the University of Michigan began keeping records, partly due to high inflation. Another weak spot this week suggested that the manufacturing and services sectors in the United States are not as strong as economists thought.
This weakened data raises concerns about the strength of the economy. But they can also be good for the financial markets, as paradoxical as that may seem.
They could mean less upward pressure on inflation, which would ultimately mean the Federal Reserve doesn’t have to hike rates as aggressively. And interest rates drive trade in everything from stocks to cryptocurrencies.
“We have certainly seen a cooling in many areas. Gasoline purchases are down, housing prices seem to be cooling across the board,” Frederick said. “To me, this all speaks to the fact that what the Fed is doing now seems to be having at least some impact. Now whether or not that’s enough to bring inflation down, I don’t think we know yet.
A nugget in the consumer sentiment report could carry particular weight for the markets. It showed consumer expectations for long-term inflation moderated to 3.1% from 3.3% mid-month. This is crucial for the Fed, as expectations of higher inflation in the future can trigger buying activity that further inflames inflation in a self-fulfilling vicious circle.
Last week, the Fed raised its key short-term rate by the widest margin in decades and said another such hike could happen, although it’s not common.
Over the past week, investors have slightly lowered their expectations of the Fed raising interest rates early next year.
That helped Treasury market yields pull back. The two-year Treasury yield, which tends to move with expectations for Fed actions, fell back to 3.06% from over 3.40% in the middle of last week.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which is the foundation of the global financial system, rose to 3.13% on Friday from 3.07% on Thursday evening. But it has also moderated after hitting 3.48% last week.
It started the year just above 1.50%.
A separate economic report released on Friday showed that new home sales unexpectedly accelerated last month. But the trend for housing has been largely down because it’s leading the Fed hikes.
Higher mortgage rates are hurting the industry, and a separate report released earlier this week showed sales of previously occupied homes slowed last month.
Rising mortgage rates prompted LendingTree, the online marketplace that helps people find mortgages and other loans, to warn on Friday that it expects to report weaker revenue for the second quarter than previously expected. Its stock fell 7.9%.
The vast majority of Wall Street was heading in the opposite direction. More than 95% of S&P 500 stocks closed higher.
Travel-related stocks were among the biggest gainers on Friday. Cruise line Carnival rose 12.4% after reporting weaker results for its latest quarter than analysts expected, but also said booking trends were improving. Royal Caribbean jumped 15.8% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. United Airlines rose 7.5%, while Wynn Resorts climbed 12.1%.
AP Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.
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