By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street surged on Friday to end higher, closing the book on a week of wild market gyrations as relief at signs of peaking inflation vied with fears that policy tightening by the Federal Reserve could tilt the economy into recession.
Gains were led by a rebound in megacap tech and tech-adjacent stocks, which sold off in recent sessions as benchmark Treasury yields climbed and investors worried the Fed might hike interest rates more aggressively than expected.
Despite the day’s gains, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted their sixth consecutive weekly loss, the longest losing streak since fall 2012 for the S&P 500 and since spring 2011 for the Nasdaq.
The Dow notched its seventh consecutive weekly dip, the blue chip average’s longest losing streak since late winter of 1980.
“Is this a dead cat bounce? Or is it a recognition by investors, as I believe, that the sell off is overdone?” said Oliver Pursche, senior vice president at Wealthspire Advisors, in New York.
“I would not be surprised if we see one or two more down weeks, but you have to look past the indices and see the underpinnings of the market,” Pursche added. “And what we’re seeing today is some of the beaten-up quality names are really rebounding sharply.”
In the past six trading days, the Labor Department delivered four economic reports – wage growth, CPI, PPI and import prices – which together suggested inflation hit its apex in March, welcome news for market participants worried the Fed could spark a recession with a spate of inflation-fighting interest rate hikes.
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,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “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 466.36 points, or 1.47%, to 32,196.66, the S&P 500 gained 93.81 points, or 2.39%, to 4,023.89 and the Nasdaq Composite added 434.04 points, or 3.82%, to 11,805.00.
All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 ended the session green, consumer discretionary stocks enjoying the largest percentage gain, surging by 4.1%.
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 9.7% 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.
Tesla Inc jumped 5.7%.
Trading platform Robinhood Markets Inc surged 24.9% 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 8.2%.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.73-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.91-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and 30 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 10 new highs and 279 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.32 billion shares, compared with the 13.17 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; additional reporting by Devik Jain, Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio)