U.S. stock markets closed sharply higher on Friday following the moderate reading of a key inflation gauge. Timely intervention by the U.S. government and the Fed to resolve the banking sector crisis also strengthened market participants’ confidence. All three major stock indexes ended in positive territory. Moreover, for the week, month and quarter, these indexes finished on a positive note.
How Did The Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) advanced 1.3% or 415.12 points to close at 33,274.15. The blue-chip index ended in green for three consecutive days. Notably, 29 components of the 30-stock index ended in positive territory and 1 in negative zone.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished at 12,221.91, climbing 1.7% or 208.4 points due to strong performance of large-cap technology stocks. The major gainer of the tech-laden index was Align Technology Inc. (
ALGN Quick Quote ALGN - Free Report) as its shares jumped 7.2%. Align Technology currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here
The S&P 500 surged 1.4% to end at 4,109.31, marking its highest closing since Feb 15. All 11 broad sectors of the benchmark index closed in positive territory. The Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE), the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR (XLC) the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) and the Consumer Discretionary select Sector SPDR (XLY) appreciated 2.2%, 1.9%, 1.6% and 2.7%, respectively.
The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 1.7% to 18.70. A total of 11.98 billion shares were traded on Friday, lower than the last 20-session average of 12.74 billion. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 4.78-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 2.45-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.
The Department of Commerce reported that the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price index dropped 0.1% in February. January’s data was revised upward to 1.5% from 1.1% reported earlier. Year over year, PCE inflation climbed 5.3% in February compared with 5.6% in January.
The core PCE inflation (excluding volatile food and energy items) rose 0.3% in February, lower-than-the consensus estimate of 0.4%. January’s data was revised downward to 0.5% from 0.6% reported earlier. Year over year, core PCE inflation increased 4.6%, marginally below January’s reading.
Personal income increased 0.3% compared with the consensus estimate of 0.2% and January’s data of 0.6%. Personal spending rose 0.2% in February compared with the consensus estimate of 0.3%. January’s data was revised upward to 2% from 1.8% reported earlier. Personal savings rate increased by 4.6% in February. January’s data was revised downward to 4.4% from 4.7% reported earlier.
The University of Michigan reported that the final reading of the U.S. consumer sentiment for March came in at 62% compared with the consensus estimate of 63%. The preliminary reading of March was 63.4%.
Last week was highly impressive for Wall Street. The three major stock indexes – the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rallied 3.2%, 3.5% and 3.4%, respectively. Investors seemed more confident about the stability of the U.S. banking sector.
Wall Street closed a strong March as the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.9%, 3.5% and 6.7%, respectively. The Fed refrained from raising the magnitude of interest rate hike in March FOMC. Moreover, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that the current rate hike cycle is approaching its end.
Wall Street finished first-quarter 2023 on a positive note. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite surged 0.4%, 7% and 16.8%, respectively. The Nasdaq Composite posted its biggest quarterly gain since the quarter ended June 2020.