By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street rallied to close sharply higher on Friday, closing a tumultuous week on easing concerns over whether the U.S. Federal Reserve could begin tightening its dovish monetary policy sooner than expected.
While all three major U.S. indexes ended solidly green, all posted weekly losses after a steep mid-week sell-off pulled the S&P 500 and the Dow away from a string of record closing highs.
“Towards the beginning of the week you saw traders balancing their books ahead of the Fed statement,” said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. “And once the statement came out, you saw a bit of ‘sell the rumor buy the news.'”
Market-leading tech and tech-adjacent megacaps, which weathered the pandemic recession better than most, once again provided the biggest lift.
Growth stocks were also given a boost by U.S. Treasury yields, which ended the week lower due to concerns the health crisis could be a longer than expected hindrance to economic revival.
Announcements from a host of Asian nations that they are implementing drastic measures to curb the resurgence of COVID-19 due to the rise of the disease’s highly contagious Delta variant, put a damper on stocks associated with economic re-engagement.
Mixed economic data from the U.S. and China suggested the ongoing recovery from the most abrupt recession on record has passed its peak and lost some momentum.
Market participants now look to next week’s Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming, a gathering of major central bank leaders, for clues from Fed Chair Jerome Powell regarding the expected pace of recovery and the timeline for policy tightening.
“We’ve seen times in history where the Jackson Hole Symposium has drawn a lot of eyeballs but this year more so,” Keator added. “The Fed might use this opportunity to communicate what their plan is going forward.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 225.96 points, or 0.65%, to 35,120.08, the S&P 500 gained 35.87 points, or 0.81%, to 4,441.67 and the Nasdaq Composite added 172.88 points, or 1.19%, to 14,714.66.
All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 ended the session higher, with tech stocks and utilities enjoying the largest percentage gains.
Second-quarter reporting season has essentially run its course, with 476 of the companies in the S&P 500 having posted results. Of those, 87.4% have beaten consensus, according to Refinitiv data.
Farm and construction equipment manufacturer Deere & Co beat quarterly profit expectations and raised its full year guidance due to robust demand. Still, its shares ended the session down 2.1%.
Bristol-Myers Squibb advanced 1% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drugmaker’s cancer drug Opdivo.
U.S.-listed shares of China-based tech-related companies oscillated market participants as they digested recent sell-offs resulting from Beijing’s ongoing regulatory crackdown, which has wiped half a trillion dollars from Chinese markets this week.
Alibaba Holding Group closed down 1.6%, while Tencent Music Entertainment Group, Didi Global and iQiyi Inc gained between 1.6% and 3.7%.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.37-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.21-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 50 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 59 new highs and 200 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 8.72 billion shares, compared with the 9.21 billion average over the last 20 trading days.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Devik Jain and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis)