Stocks extended the volatility seen in the previous session, fluctuating over the course of the trading day on Friday. Benefiting from the some late-day strength, the major averages all ended the session firmly in positive territory.
The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new highs for the session going into the close of trading. The Dow climbed 194.23 points or 0.6 percent to 30,677.36, the Nasdaq surged 179.11 points or 1.6 percent to 11,232.19 and the S&P 500 jumped 35.84 points or 1 percent at 3,795.73.
The markets continued to experience choppy trading as traders weighed going bargain hunting following recent weakness against the possibility of a global recession.
Traders kept an eye on Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s before the House Financial Services Committee, with the Fed chief reiterating his commitment to moving expeditiously to bring inflation back down.
The Fed’s plans to aggressively raise interest rates to combat inflation has led to concerns tighter monetary policy will tip the economy into a recession.
Powell has acknowledged that achieving a “soft landing” will be “very challenging” due in part to factors outside of the Fed’s control and noted a recession is “certainly a possibility.”
In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits edged slightly lower in the week ended June 18th.
The report showed initial jobless claims dipped to 229,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 231,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to slip to 227,000 from the 229,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Biotechnology stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the session, driving the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index up by 4.4 percent.
Substantial strength was also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 3.1 percent spike by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.
Retail, utilities and healthcare stocks also turned in strong performances on the day, contributing to the higher close by the broader markets.
On the other hand, energy stocks extended the sell-off seen in the previous session as the price of crude oil showed another steep drop. After tumbling $3.33 to $106.19 a barrel a barrel on Wednesday, crude for August delivery slumped $1.92 to $104.27 a barrel.
Reflecting the weakness in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index plummeted by 4.8 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index plunged by 3.7 percent.
Gold, steel and banking stocks also saw significant weakness, partly offsetting the strength seen in the aforementioned sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index surged up by 1.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index tumbled by 1.8 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slumped by 1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index slid by 0.6 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries extended the strong upward move seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, slid 8.8 basis points to 3.068 percent.
Trading on Friday may be impacted by reaction to a report on new home sales as well as a revised reading on consumer sentiment.
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