US STOCKS-Wall Street rally at the end of Wild Week

US STOCKS-Wall Street rally at the end of Wild Week

On Friday, Wall Street rallied, capping a week of dramatic market swings highlighted by signals of rising inflation and concerns that the Federal Reserve would tighten policy too quickly. The market was led higher by rebounding megacap tech and tech-related growth firms. These stocks performed well during the epidemic when interest rates were low and Fed policy was supportive, but they have since dropped off. Despite the advances, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were on track to lose for the sixth week in a row. It would be the S&P 500’s and Nasdaq’s longest losing streaks since fall 2012 and spring 2011, respectively. The Dow was on course for its seventh consecutive weekly dip, the blue chip average’s longest losing streak since late winter of 1980. “It’s a pretty bleak past couple of months, we’re at or very close to bear market territory for just about every major index,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “It’s too early to tell whether we’re approaching a bottom and at least stabilizing.”

Among the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, consumer discretionary stocks enjoyed the largest percentage gain. First-quarter reporting season has reached the final stretch, with 458 companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 78% have delivered consensus beating results, according to Refinitiv. For the first three months of the year, analysts now see aggregate year-on-year S&P 500 earnings growth of 11.1%, up from 6.4% at quarter-end, per Refinitiv. Shares of Twitter Inc dropped 9.8% following Elon Musk’s tweet that he had put the $44 billion cash buyout deal on hold, as he waits for the social media company to provide data on fake accounts.

In the past six trading days, the Labor Department delivered four economic reports suggesting inflation hit its apex in March, welcome news for market participants worried that the Fed’s upcoming spate of inflation-fighting interest rate hikes could spark a recession. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, confirmed on Thursday by the U.S. Senate to a second term, reiterated the central bank’s determination to battle inflation, but said he believes the economy can avoid a serious downturn. Powell “demonstrated a humility and seriousness at the same time,” Tuz said. “He’s committing to getting this inflation under control, even if he admits it’s going to be somewhat painful.” The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 160.15 points, or 0.5%, to 31,890.45, the S&P 500 gained 54.19 points, or 1.38%, to 3,984.27 and the Nasdaq Composite added 303.40 points, or 2.67%, to 11,674.36.

Tesla Inc jumped 4.9%. Trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc surged 23.0% after Samuel Bankman-Fried, the chief executive and founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, revealed a 7.6% stake in the brokerage app company. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed buying more shares of Occidental Petroleum, sending the oil company’s shares up 6.2%. Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.37-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.94-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 30 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded nine new highs and 257 new lows.

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