NEW YORK, April 17 — The three main Wall Street indexes ended yesterday higher for the day and week, with the S&P 500 and the Dow breaking closing records, as investors took strong economic data and bank earnings as signs of momentum in the US pandemic recovery.
Nine of the 11 S&P sub-sectors rose yesterday. The energy and information technology indexes were the exceptions. The former, dipping 0.9 per cent, was weighed by lower oil prices, while the latter was marginally lower, the day after its highest-ever close.
The S&P 500 and the Dow Industrials recorded their fourth straight week of gains. The S&P 500 scored three closing highs this week, while the Dow surpassed its best finish two days running.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq finished less than one per cent below its own all-time closing high achieved on February 12.
Investor confidence on the road ahead seems steady, with the volatility index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, falling 1.9 per cent to its lowest close in 14 months.
“Everyone is looking at just how far we can run before we start raising interest rates,” said George Catrambone, head of Americas trading at DWS Group.
“Until we see that significant inflation growth and the Fed starts to talk about raising interest rates, I think it’s going to be goldilocks conditions.”
Reporting a 150 per cent jump in quarterly profit yesterday, Morgan Stanley joined other big US banks in posting first-quarter numbers reinforcing hopes of a swift economic recovery.
Still, the investment bank’s shares fell 2.8 per cent as it also disclosed an almost US$1 billion (RM4.13 billion) loss from the collapse of private fund Archegos.
Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs Group , Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co rose between 0.7 per cent and 3.8 per cent. The S&P financials index climbed to a second consecutive record finish.
“When this is all put in context, and compared with other sectors including technology, we’re going to see the financials’ results look very powerful,” said Diane Jaffee, senior portfolio manager at TCW.
“Given what we know about the Fed’s loosening on caps for dividend increases and buybacks after the next CCAR results in June, I think we’ll have a very strong half-year — at least — for financials.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 164.68 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 34,200.67; the S&P 500 gained 15.05 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 4,185.47; and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.58 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 14,052.34.
For the week, the S&P rose 1.4 per cent, the Dow added 1.2 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 1.1 per cent.
The Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates low despite higher inflation has also revived demand for richly valued technology stocks, although bond yields edged higher again yesterday after hitting multi-week lows a day earlier.
Of the tech-related behemoths that helped led Wall Street’s recovery last year from the coronavirus-fuelled crash, Apple Inc slipped 0.3 per cent yesterday, but Amazon.com Inc, Tesla Inc and Microsoft Corp all gained between 0.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent.
Volume on US exchanges was 9.99 billion shares, compared with the 11.02 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.36-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.20-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 140 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 154 new highs and 102 new lows. — Reuters