Stocks climbed on Friday, pushing the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to record closing highs.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 1.2% to close at 4,839. This marked the S&P 500’s first record close since January 2022. The Dow (^DJI) gained just over 1% to settle at 37,863.
On a percentage basis, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) was the day’s biggest winner, rising 1.7% to close at 15,310. The Nasdaq’s record close stands at 16,057, reached in November 2021.
Focus has turned to Big Tech to potentially kickstart a lagging stock market now that the key drivers of the late 2023 rally have waned. Thursday’s tech-led surge in stocks put the S&P 500 within striking distance of its all-time closing high of 4,796.56 and snapped a three-day losing streak for the Dow.
But stocks have had a bumpy holiday-shortened week as investors reacted to policymakers’ comments, economic data, and corporate earnings in a bid to gauge the likelihood of a Federal Reserve pivot. The market is still closely watching for cues to the timing of rate cuts, which could set the tone for corporates this year.
A widely followed gauge of predictions for the Fed’s next move is registering fading hope for an interest rate cut to arrive soon. Market bets on the Fed lowering rates during its upcoming March policy meeting have fallen below 50%, according to the CME FedWatch Tool on Friday afternoon. That figure was 80% just a week ago, highlighting the new dose of Fed pessimism that has set in and how quickly sentiment around the central bank’s future moves can change.
Read more: What the Fed rate-hike pause means for bank accounts, CDs, loans, and credit cards
In individual stocks, iRobot (IRBT) shares were down 26% after a report that EU regulators plan to block Amazon’s (AMZN) $1.4 billion acquisition of the Roomba maker. Meanwhile, Macy’s (M) slipped over 1% after the retailer said it is cutting 2,350 jobs and closing five stores.
Quarterly results from Travelers (TRV), Regions Financial (RF), and banks are on the earnings docket Friday. In economic updates, a December reading on existing home sales is due, as well as a look at consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan.
Elsewhere, a reprieve in the US government funding saga came after lawmakers passed a stopgap bill to avert a looming shutdown.
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