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Index buoyed by inflation data; Nasdaq posts best quarter since 2020 – Reuters

  • February PCE growth slows
  • S&P 500 gains for second straight quarter
  • For the day, the Dow was up 1.3%, the S&P 500 up 1.4%, the Nasdaq 1.7%

NEW YORK, March 31 (Reuters) – Wall Street rose more than 1% on Friday and the Nasdaq posted its biggest quarterly percentage gain since June 2020 as signs of cooling inflation fueled hopes that the Federal Reserve May end its aggressive interest rate hikes soon.

The S&P 500 closed at its highest level since February 15 and posted a second straight quarter of gains as the technology sector (.SPLRCT) gained 21.5% in the first quarter.

The quarterly gains came despite a sharp selloff in bank stocks and concerns of a potentially larger financial crisis following the collapse of two regional banks earlier this month.

The S&P 500 Financials sector (.SPSY) was the worst-performing sector for the quarter, declining 6.1%, while the KBW Regional Bank Index (.KRX) fell 18.6% for the period.

A Commerce Department report Friday showed US consumer spending increased modestly in February while inflation eased.

“Equity markets are cheering the modest reduction in inflation, as they should be,” said Quincy Crosby, chief global strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte. Is.” , North Carolina.

The Fed is raising rates to reduce inflation. Growth expectations fell by 25 basis points at its May meeting to nearly 50%, with no hikes looking likely.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) rose 415.12 points, or 1.26%, to 33,274.15, the S&P 500 (.SPX) rose 58.48 points, or 1.44%, to 4,109.31 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) rose 208.44 points, or 1.74%, to 12,221.91.

For the week and the month, the stocks also registered strong gains. The Nasdaq was up 6.7% for March.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 30, 2023 in New York City, US. REUTERS/Brendan McDiarmid

For the quarter, the Nasdaq jumped 16.8% in its biggest quarterly percentage increase since the three months ended June 2020. The S&P 500 gained 7% and the Dow gained 0.4%, based on the latest available data.

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Semiconductors were among the strongest performing stocks of the quarter, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (.SOX) rising 27.6%.

Big tech stocks rallied as investors exited banks and US Treasury yields slid, with the two-year note yield posting its biggest monthly decline since 2008 on Friday. Higher yields are a downside for large tech companies.

Shares of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) ended Friday with a 1.6% gain, along with other megacaps. It also won its appeal against a UK antitrust regulator’s decision to launch an investigation into its mobile browser and cloud gaming services.

Also on Friday, Boston Fed President Susan Collins said that wherever the US central bank stops with its rate hike, maintaining that level for a while would help reduce high inflation to the 2% target. will be important.

Volume on US exchanges stood at 11.98 billion shares compared to the 12.74 billion full-session average over the last 20 trading days.

outnumbering decliners on the NYSE by a 4.78-to-1 ratio; On the Nasdaq, the 2.45-to-1 ratio was in favor of the advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and no new lows; The Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 131 new lows.

Reporting by Caroline Valetkevich; Additional reporting by Amrita Khandekar and Ankika Biswas; Additional reporting by Johan M Cherian Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Maju Samuel and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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