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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Wall Street Soars, Fueled by Tech as Treasury Yields Calm

Wall Street’s main indexes ended with big gains on Friday, boosted by heavyweight tech and growth stocks as Treasury yields calmed, while investors looked ahead to a next week’s reports on inflation and other economic data.


The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite posted its biggest one-day percentage rise since May 26.


Equities bounced back from declines the previous session which followed hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell about interest rates. Thursday’s drop ended the longest winning streaks in two years for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.


Investors have been focused on benchmark Treasury yields, which have eased somewhat from 16-year highs, and monetary policy as they assess whether the Fed might be done raising rates to control inflation and when the central bank could start cutting rates.


A majority of traders are betting that the Fed will keep interest rates unchanged this year, with odds of a cut of at least 25 basis points in May standing at nearly 46%, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.


Several policymakers this week have pushed back against rate cut expectations, with some stressing on a data-dependent approach to monetary policy.


Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin on Thursday said that while there’s been “real progress” on inflation, it is yet unclear if the U.S. central bank will need to push its policy rate higher to finish the job


“We have had rates roll over here a little bit and I think that’s one of the reasons we have seen this rally over the last couple of weeks,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. “If you think this rally has legs, yesterday gave you an opportunity to go buy some stocks today.”


Next week the consumer price index report will be closely watched, along with data on producer prices and retail sales, which will further shape interest rate projections.


“In general, the expectation investors have is that the upcoming inflation data is going to be positive for the market and I think they want to get in front of it a little bit,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 391.16 points, or 1.15%, to 34,283.1, the S&P 500 gained 67.89 points, or 1.56%, to 4,415.24 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 276.66 points, or 2.05%, to 13,798.11.


The S&P 500 posted its highest closing level since Sept 19.


All 11 S&P 500 sectors ended in positive territory, led by a 2.6% gain for the technology sector. Megacap stocks that have propelled the market higher this year also rose solidly on Friday. Nvidia rose about 3%, with Meta Platforms up 2.6% and Microsoft up 2.5%.


“People are looking at megacap tech and saying in an environment of higher rates and a slowing economy, these companies remain the best place to be and are willing to pay a premium for them,” Meckler said.


For the week, the Dow rose about 0.7%, the S&P 500 gained 1.3% and the Nasdaq climbed 2.4%.


Helping support equities, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was little changed at 4.62% the day after a jump that was partly driven by a weaker-than-expected 30-year bond auction.


Data on Friday showed U.S. consumer sentiment fell for a fourth straight month in November, and households’ expectations for inflation rose again.


In company news, Illumina shares dropped 8% as the genetic testing company trimmed its full-year profit forecast for the second straight quarter.


Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.7-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. There were 70 new highs and 152 new lows on the NYSE.


On the Nasdaq 2,589 advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.6-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq. The Nasdaq recorded 61 new highs and 353 new lows.


About 10.2 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the roughly 11 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

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