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S&P 500 ends sharply higher, jobs data fuels interest rate optimism

August 29, 2023By Reuters

Aug 29 – Wall Street ended sharply higher on Tuesday, lifted by Tesla, Nvidia, and other megacap growth stocks after a drop in monthly job openings cemented expectations of a pause in interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq touched their highest in over two weeks during the session after the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed the number of job openings stood at 8.827 million in July, falling for the third straight month and signaling easing labor market pressures.

Investors also parsed a report from the Conference Board showing consumer confidence in the United States fell to 106.1 in August, compared with expectations of 116.

Interest rate futures signaled an 87% chance the Fed will keep rates steady at its September meeting and a 54% chance it will keep rates on hold through November, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“Investors are of the mindset that ‘You know what, maybe interest rate hikes are indeed behind us. So let’s buy back into stocks,'” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 64.39 points, or 1.45%, to end at 4,497.70 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 239.36 points, or 1.74%, to 13,943.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 294.97 points, or 0.85%, to 34,854.95.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note eased to 4.11%, while that on the two-year note fell back below 5% after hovering around that level for the past few sessions.

The decline in yields supported growth stocks, with Apple (AAPL), Nvidia (NVDA), and Meta Platforms (META) all gaining.

Tesla (TSLA) rallied, even after documents showed a US regulator sent a special order to the electric vehicle maker asking questions about changes to the driver monitoring system for its Autopilot software.

Alphabet (GOOGL) received a boost from a swath of fresh artificial intelligence technology and partnerships unveiled by the Google-parent.

The July non-farm payrolls report on Friday will offer investors more clarity about the state of the labor market. The focus will also be on the personal consumption expenditures index, the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, which is due on Thursday.

The lack of hawkish surprises in Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments at the Jackson Hole symposium last week buoyed stocks on Monday, with the focus now on the upcoming economic data to gauge how long the central bank could keep interest rates elevated.

Catalent (CTLT) jumped after the contract drugmaker reached a settlement with activist investor Elliott Investment Management to conduct a review.

Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) gained after Citi upgraded the telecom companies to “buy” from “neutral”.

US-listed shares of PDD Holdings rallied after the Chinese e-commerce firm beat second-quarter revenue estimates.

(Reporting by Shristi Achar A and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru, and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Deepa Babington)


This article originally appeared on reuters.com

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